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A few notes, collected from various sources oi the 
settlement on the Rangitikei River of a number of 
Maoris of different tribes. A short history of 
the purchase and colonization of the land between 
the Turakina and Oroua Rivers, and an account of 
the various pioneers. 



Cbristchurck, Wellington and Dunedin, N.Z. ; Melbourne and London 



It has been truly said that the early settlers require no memorial 
for "if we look around we see their monuments." Unfortunately, 
however, the later day colonist does not "look around," he is too 
much occupied in the rush of life or sport to think of those who 
braved all and left those dear to them to come and found our 
Dominion. They were our true Empire builders. 

Many have supplied records of their work elsewhere, but 
although Rangitikei is one of the oldest settlements, no record 
is in existence of the early settlers who made it. It is to record 
something of their personality, work and life that I have gathered 
a few facts about them, and although very meagre and unsatisfying, 
I determined to publish them, so that their part should not be 
forgotten. They lived the truly simple life, with little mone^ 
and indifferent markets, no means of transit except by bullock dray 
or boat; no roads, save Maori tracks or along river beds; living in 
Maori-built whares, yet they had stout hearts, and no doubt they 
dreamt dreams of the future of the country in the hands of their 

The Whanganui land was the first sale in the district, and 
described in Wakefield's "Adventure," then the Awahou Block 
around Foxton, as shown on the map by a straight line running 
from the sea past Omarapapaku to the Manawatu river. These two 
blocks I have not touched on, but the next sale of Maori land, 
the Rangitikei-Turakina block is part of my theme. These blocks 
are all shown on the map, "Old Rangitikei," which accompanies 
this volume, and which I have been able to publish by the great 
kindness and assistance of Mr. J. W. Marchant, late Surveyor- 
General. On the right side of the map is a plan of the earliest 
settlement in lower Rangitikei. At the Turakina side numbers are 
given and the early settlers' names corresponding to the numbers 
are shown on the side. Most of the names and the blocks are shown 
on the other map, which is a copy of a map of Rangitikei compiled 
by George Swainson in 1858, and which also shows the original 
settlers in the major portion of the block. In the ' ' Old Rangitikei ' ' 
map not only are the original Maori blocks shown but the present 
counties. I have endeavoured to give as many Maori names on 
the Rangitikei river, but it has been difficult to get the names 
owing to the younger Maoris having forgotten them. I could not 
have got even those which are on the map had it not been for the 
kind assistance of friends, notably Messrs. .John and William 
Marshall. Mr. A. H. Bill was also of much assistance in gathering 
information. Readers who are interested in Mr. Colenso's track 
will find it sketched in by Mr. J. W. Marchant. " Swainson 's" 
map I was able to copy through the kindness of Mr. J. F. Sieeley, 
who has the original. The old tracks are shown on it which settlers 
used before there were roads laid out, and the edge of the cliff 
overlooking the Rangitikei river is dotted in. 


I have only been able to secure a few photographs of the earlier 
colonists. Photography was not in such general use in their time, 
and this is the reason why some of the more prominent men and 
women are not represented. I am sorry I have not any photos 
of the whares in the old days, but there are none existent that I 
could hear of. 

In offering this small volume to the public, I do so with all its 
imperfections and omissions as a tribute in honour and respect 
for those who came before us and paved our way to comfort and 
success, a brave, self-denying j>eoplc, and conclude by thanking 
all those who gave mo such help in the gathering of notes of old 



Chapter I ... ... ... ... l 

11 7 

m 18 

IV 17 

„ V ai 

VI 26 

VII ... ... ... ... 36 

VIII ... ... ... ... 42 

IX ... ... ... ... 48 

X ... ... ... ... 64 

XI ... ... ... ... 75 

XII ... ... ... ... 82 

XIII ... ... ... ... 104 

XIV ... ... ... ... 112 

XV ... ... ... ... 121 

XVI ... ... ... ... 127 

XVII ... ... ... ... 142 

,, XVIII ... ... ... ... 153 

XIX ... ... ... ... 161 

XX ... ... ... ... 170 

XXI ... ... ... ... 190 

XXII ... ... ... ... 193 

,, XXIII ... ... ... ... 199 

,, XXIV ... ... ... ... 209 

XXV ... ... ... ... 221 

,, XXVI ... ... ... ... 232 

,, XXVII ... ... ... ... 237 

Appendix ... ... ... ... ... 253 


Three splendid pioneers : daughters of Mr. and 

Mrs. Fraser ... ... Frontispiece 


Bangihaeata ... ... ... ... 30 

Te Rauparaha ... ... ... ... 31 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Scott ... ... 50 

Mr, and Mrs. T. U. MoKenzie ... ... ... 74 

Mr. John McKelvie ... ... ... 75 

Major Marshall, Tutu Totara ... ... ... 98 

Tutu Totara, Rangitikei ... ... ... 99 

Koreromaiwaho ... ... ... ... 106 

Major Trafford, Koreromaiwaho ... ... 107 

The Birch-covered spurs of the Ruahine Range, 1914 ... 210 

Rangitikei and Turakina Districts ... ... In Pocket. 

Old Rangitikei and Adjacent Districts ... „ 

Early Rangitikei 



P. 14. Footnote, for " Hon. John Boyce " read " Hon. 
John Biyce." 

P. 22. 1. 4, for " Heromana " read " Horomana." 

P. 25. Last Une, for " Huiwa " read " Hunia." 

P. 103. 1. 12, for " Hutt Club " read " Hunt Club." 

P. 148. 1. 18, for "Tapu te Whata " read " Tapa te 

P. 148. 1. 19, for " Awhuri " read " Awahuri." 

Plate 5. Title, for " T. N. McKenzie " read " T. U. 


Early Batigitikei. 

spiKe ne causea "KODUiier, as iie caueu iimi, to cry 
enough, and to jump overboard and swim ashore. He at 
the same time regaled me with a story of how he tried 
to save a handsome young slave girl from the old savage. 
One day when at Kapiti Island, a Maori girl he knew there 


Early Rangitikei 


A Sketch of the Rangitikei in the early days must 
begin with a short account of the Maoris in the district 
when the first white people come to settle amongst them. 

As is the case of all natives, the Maoris seem to have 
had a system of wireless telegraphy, which enabled them 
to know what was going on elsewhere, and naturally the 
Rangitikei Maoris knew of the settlement in Wellington 
of the English people, and had already reaped some 
benefit from their advent. They were able to sell pigs 
and wheat to the traders, and, as a prize, buy a horse, 
some tobacco, or other luxury. Long before the early 
settlers came to "Wellington the natives had bartered 
dressed flax to captains of the whalers or traders who 
came down from Sydney, and many of the native women 
had married whalers, and settled down "to rear his dusky 
race. ' ' The whalers, however, seem to have taught them 
little but to drink rum. That entertaining old whaler, 
"Billy Jenkins," told me how, opposite Kapiti, he had 
a fight on board a schooner with the redoubtable Te 
Rauparaha, over some rum which the Maori wanted to 
annex. Billy graphically described, though with what 
truth I cannot say, how with the assistance of a marline 
spike he caused "Robuller," as he called him, to cry 
enough, and to jump overboard and swim ashore. He at 
the same time regaled me with a story of how he tried 
to save a handsome young slave girl from the old savage. 
One day when at Kapiti Island, a Maori girl he knew there 


ran up to him and cried, **Biri Biri, save me, they are 
going to kill me," and on enquiry he found that this was 
the ease, the ukase had gone forth that she was to be the 
victim of man's horrible desire for nitrogenous food. 
Billy offered "RobuUer" three casks of gunpowder for 
her life, perhaps the most tempting offer he could make, 
and Te Rauparaha seemed at first eager to accept, and 
asked where they were. "Over at my whare," said Billy. 
After long consideration, however, the temptation was 
refused on the ground "that the wahine would be very 
tender. ' ' 

This same Te Rauparaha had such a powerful sway 
everywhere on the Coast, and had so completely altered 
the location and power of the native tribes, that a short 
account of his migration and conquests must precede 
anything said of the Maoris of Rangitikei. There is no 
need here to set forth his life at any length, as this has 
been done by various writers, notably by Mr. W. Locke 
Travers in his "Stirring Times of Te Rauparaha," pub- 
lished by Messrs. Whitcombe and Tombs. As he pervaded 
the whole coast and was the most important factor in the 
sale of land, and the attacks made upon the settlers, some 
explanation must be made of his life and character. 

It seems certain that he was born somewhere about 
1770 at Kawhia, and belonged to the Ngatitoa tribe. He 
was the son of Werawera from a Ngatiraukawa woman 
named Parekowhatu, and thus he was equally related to 
the two tribes, Ngatitoa and Ngatiraukawa. His sister, 
Waitohi, was again the mother of Rangihaeata, who had 
almost as much influence as his uncle, Te Rauparaha. 
A sister of Parekowhatu, named Parewahawaha, was the 
ancestress of natives who afterwards settled opposite 
Bulls. Te Rauparaha as he grew up was constantly on 
the war path. There seems to have been continual war- 
fare going on in the north, and the tribes seemed bent on 
annihilating each other. The tribes, Ngatiraukawa and 
Ngatitoa, generally made common cause against the other 


tribes. As Te Rauparaha grew up he took part in these 
tribal troubles. He soon began to assume the leadership^ 
and he was constantly scheming to defeat the Waikatos, 
who, under Te Wherowhero, occupied the valley of the 
Waipa between Maungatautari and Kawhia, and had 
some strong pas on the slopes of Pirongia, which after- 
wards were the head-quarters of the Eang movement in 
the King Country. 

To this end Te Rauparaha was in constant communica- 
tion with the Chief of the tribe at Rotorua and Taupo, 
the latter under the great chief Te Heuheu, a man of 
immense stature and commanding presence. These tribes 
were closely allied to the Ngatiraukawa and Ngatitoa, and 
eventually enabled Te Rauparaha to fend off attacks when 
his people were settling the West Coast. Eventually, the 
Ngatiraukawa, Ngatitoa and Ngatiawa peaceably par- 
titioned the conquered country out amongst themselves 
(said to be on the suggestion of Waitohi) , and closed the 
wrangles which at one time looked like developing into 
civil war. 

Te Rauparaha 's first idea was to conquer the Waikatos, 
but the Ngapuhis and other tribes to the northward, who 
had been trading with Europeans, soon collected the 
coveted firearms and gunpowder, which gave them such 
power over those whose weapons were those of the Maori, 
that Te Rauparaha saw it was hopeless to carry out his 
scheme of the conquest of the Waikatos, and turned his 
attention elsewhere, and readily joined, by invitation, an 
expedition under Tamati Waka Nene and his brother 
Patuone, from Hokianga, with many warriors. The party 
travelled along the coast through the territory of the 
Ngatiawas, whose alliance with the Ngatitoas, however, 
saved them from molestation. 

Beginning with the Ngatiruanui, who occupied the 
country just north of Hawera, they fought their way 
down the coast to Wellington, defeating on the way the 
Wanganui, Ngatiapa, Muaupoko and Rangitane tribes, 


when they offered resistance. By the time they reached 
Wellington their fame had gone abroad, and the section 
of the Ngati Kahungunu tribe, who lived there, fled to 
the Wairarapa. The tavM (war party), however, followed 
them up, and attacked a large force gathered in a very 
strong pa, called Tawhare Nikau, and carried it with 
great slaughter. After pursuing the fugitives as far as 
Porangahau, killing all they could find, they returned to 
Wellington, where in the offing stood a European vessel. 
Tamati shouted, "Oh, Raha! do you see that people sailing 
on the sea. They are a very good people, and if you con- 
quer this land and hold intercourse with them you will 
obtain guns and powder and become very great." This 
determined Te Rauparaha to return and occupy the land, 
so that he too could trade with the Europeans and procure 
guns and gunpowder. 

Rangihaeata as he passed through the Turakina 
district took prisoner and made his slave wife a sister 
of the Ngatiapa chief, Aperahama Tipae, called Pikinga, 
and Mr. Travers says this circumstance was "much and 
absurdly insisted upon in favour of the Ngatiapa title 
during the investigations of the Native Lands Court into 
the Manawatu Case. ' ' This is, however, rather a partisan 
view, for in that case Mr. Travers acted as counsel for 
the Ngatiraukawa tribe when the non-sellers brought their 
case before the Court. But this will be referred to when 
the story of the purchase of that block comes to be told. 

Te Rauparaha 's whole mind was now concentrated 
upon getting the various chiefs of the friendly tribes to 
agree to send warriors with him when he made his raid on 
the West Coast. 

He was aided in this by the death of the principal 
chief of the Ngatiraukawa, at Maungatautari, and 
claiming the position for himself. This was to some 
extent acknowledged by the tribe, but only so far as a 
"first-class fighting man," whilst the general direction 


of the affairs of the tribe remained with the hereditary 
chiefs, the principal one being Te Whatanui. 

Although even Te Rauparaha's persuasive powers — 
which must have been great — did not prevail upon the 
Ngatiraukawa to leave Maungatautari then, some of the 
braves joined him, and afterwards there was a great 
migration south. 

Nor is it to be wondered at that the tribe had no wish 
to leave Maungatautari. It is beautifully situated close to 
that grand river, the Waikato, which flows peacefully from 
Taupo to the sea, giving access to the ocean on the one 
hand and the lake on the other by canoe. The mountain 
itself, a beautifully- wooded hill, gave great shelter from 
any marauding party, and the splendid piece of country 
between the Waikato and Waipa stretching to the west — 
for cultivation, and the swamps to the north for eel and 
wild fowls, is unsurpassed for those who had to depend 
upon hunting for their living. Anyone viewing the 
country around Cambridge at the present day will get 
some idea of the fascination it must have had for the 
Maori owners who claimed it. These lands were 
eventually confiscated on account of the Waikato War in 

However, Te Rauparaha at last began his journey, 
taking with him beside his fighting men, a number of 
women and children, about 400 in all, including 170 tried 
fighting men. 

It is a stirring story to read of his journey as told by 
Mr. Travers, but for our purposes there is only need to 
confine attention to the progress through Rangitikei and 
on down South. This migration took place about 1820. 
Te Rauparaha from his previous raid knew the whole 
country, and knew the people who were likely to bar his 

The natives in these parts, no doubt, had had inter- 
tribal wars, and disputes, but the fight for supremacy had 
never been so great as in the North, where the men were 


brought up to look on warfare as a necessity, so that the 
tribes on the West Coast were not inured to hardships 
and had not the same experience in warfare. It may be 
added that the expedition rested for some time in 
Taranaki, during which period Te Rauparaha went con- 
tinuously to and fro between the various other tribes, 
even as far as Tauranga, to try and induce them to join 
forces, and he was thus able to get the help of 200 
fighting men from Pomare, and 400 Ngatiawas under Wi 

There was thus a very formidable invading force and 
not much resistance was made. Pikinga's people of the 
Ngatiapa tribe met this force at Wanganui and escorted 
them down the coast, through their territory, so that there 
was no fighting until they passed the Manawatu River. 
The men of the force tramped overland whilst the women 
and children and all the "Lares and Penates" of the tribe 
were taken in canoes. Travers says that the expedition 
halted at various places and sent marauding parties inland 
"for the purpose of capturing any stray people whom they 
could find, in order that they might be killed and eaten : 
but these parties found the country nearly deserted, the 
remnant of the original tribe having taken refuge in the 
fastnesses of the interior. ' ' And this afterwards was one 
of the reasons put forward in support of Ngatiraukawa's 
claim to land in the Rangitikei District. 




It is not pertinent to our subject to follow all the 
fights and disputes which occurred before the Europeans 
settled in the country, but eventually the Ngatiapas were 
left the country on the north of the Rangitikei, and some 
pas on the south side. There was a remnant of the Rangi- 
tanes left at Oroua Bridge, the land immediately south of 
the Manawatu at Porotawhao seems to have been occupied 
as a sort of outpost of the migrating tribes, then near the 
Horowhenua Lake, the original occupants, the Muaupoko 
tribe, a small remnant — after the tribe had been harried 
on every occasion — being left under the protection of 
Te Whatanui, who had by this time made up his mind 
to throw in his lot with Te Rauparaha. Eventually the 
Ngatiraukawas settled between Levin and Otaki, the 
Ngatitoas next on the coast and on Kapiti inland, and 
the Ngatiawas to the south of Waikanae. 

The character of this extraordinary man, Te Rau- 
paraha, is well worthy of study, for he was able to 
dominate the whole coast; to intimidate the Europeans; 
to murder Captain "Wakefield at the Wairau, — only to be 
told by the then Governor of the Colony, ' * The Englishmen 
were very much to blame, and as they brought on and 
began the fight, and as they were hurried into crime by 
their misconduct, I will not avenge their death." (If the 
truth were known there was no means of avenging them). 
Eventually, no doubt, we might have done so, but if war 
had been declared the whole of the Europeans would 
probably have been massacred. 

After this invasion of the Marlborough province he 
assumed the right to deal with the lands, and it was he 


who leased to Sir Charles Clifford the Flaxbourne run, 
the first stocked country in the South Island. 

He, too, was an important factor in the sale of the 
Rangitikei block, as we shall see, and yet this position 
was gained entirely by conquest. 

I remember once bringing under Colonel Fox's notice 
Travers' "Life of Te Rauparaha," already alluded to, and 
after reading it he remarked, ''Had he lived in Europe 
he would have been a great general." His character 
and achievements have always seemed to me to be verj^ 
similar to those of Napoleon, who was fighting in Europe 
at the same time.* Napoleon had a genius for warfare. 
He dominated Europe, he made kingdoms and set rulers 
over the conquered nations. When he invaded a country 
he devastated it and lived on the food of the people. 
No army could follow him, for there was no food to be 
procured. He was treacherous to a degree. He was a 
murderer (for did he not cause to be shot the innocent 
Prince D'Enghien), yet he completely altered the map of 
Europe, and in civil life he showed by his "Code 
Napoleon" that had he turned his attention to peaceful 
occupation he would have shown the same brilliancy as 
in war. 

Te Rauparaha had the same genius as a general, and 
his attack of the Kaiapoi pa by sapping up to the palisad- 
ing is the first instance in the history of any savage 
nation using trenches as a means of warfare. He, too, 
dominated all but the far north of New Zealand. Where- 
ever he went he left the natives impoverished, and he had 
a simple means of disposing of his enemies, for he killed 
and ate them. He was treacherous to a degree, a 
murderer and a cannibal, and although his character, 
viewed from a European point of view, is vile in the 
extreme, he was only following the practice of the nation 
to which he belonged. It was the custom to conquer by 

*ThiB was written before Mr. Lindsay Buick published "An Old New 
Zealander," in which he names Te Bauraraba, Napoleon of the South. 


deception if possible, it saved a lot of bloodshed amongst 
the conquerors, it was the horrible custom to torture 
their prisoners if they had any grudge against them, 
and then kill and eat them. Te Rauparaha knew this 
would be his own fate if he were captured, but his great 
cunning and force of character enabled him to escape the 
many attempts on his life. He cringed to those in power, 
he bullied those under him, yet, like Napoleon, he altered 
the whole location of most of the tribes in the North 

He was feared by the settlers in the early days as 
much as Napoleon was feared by the English, yet he 
ended his days at Otaki, a great church goer. Bishop 
Hadfield, who knew him and Rangihaeata as well, told 
me he frequently used to come down to his house and 
ask to be allowed to talk to him, as he expressed it. 
"In the pa they talk of nothing but land and women, I 
want to hear about the world." He also said he was a 
great actor. At a time when he had just returned from 
one of his expeditions, he came over to Waikanae from 
Kapiti and went to the pa, which was occupied by the 
Ngatiawas. This tribe was very cold to him, and he came 
cringing up towards the fire rubbing his hands and 
saying, "It's very cold in the canoe," but they paid no 
heed to him, remaining sullenly silent. Gradually coming 
nearer he continued in the same tone, until he knew his 
followers were sufficiently near, and then his whole 
manner changed, and he assumed the arrogant tone which 
was habitual to him when dealing with his inferiors. 
Writing of Te Rauparaha, Bishop Hadfield says, — 

"I first met Te Rauparaha in 1839. He was then 
living on a small island within a few fathoms of Kapiti. 
It seemed strange to see a man who had recently instigated 
the Ngatiraukawa tribe to attack the Ngatiawa tribe who 
were at Waikanae about five miles distant from him, 
living securely with his wife and a few slaves without 
any fear of being molested. His matia was a sufficient 


protection. To have injured him would have been to 
involve the whole of the natives on both sides of Cook 
Strait in war. He was at that time about seventy-five 
years of age. He was rather below the average height, 
but strong and active. He had an aquiline nose and 
rather small eyes. His features plainly indicated intelli- 
gence and strength of will, cunning and cruelty, though 
I subsequently learnt that his cruelty only exhibited itself 
when serious obstacles stood in his way. He originally 
came from Kawhia. His name was known throughout 
New Zealand for the various wars he had been engaged 
in, and the ability he had displayed in overcoming 
obstacles and recovering from disasters had made him 
famous everywhere. On several occasions he related to me 
adventures connected with these wars which were very 
remarkable, as affording evidence of his marvellous 
resource. I will only mention one. Once during his wars 
with the natives of the South Island he was surprised 
when in his canoe by a party in several canoes which 
pursued him and gained upon him. On passing a point of 
land he observed a few rocks, and a large quantity of 
sea-weed on the surface of the water. He immediately 
pulled towards these, filled the canoe with water, allowing 
only enough of the heads of the party to enable them to 
breathe to appear above the water. He let his enemies go on 
their way imagining that they were in pursuit of him, 
and then, having floated his canoe, stood across the Strait 
and reached home safely. But his ready resource in a 
difficulty was not always exercised in so innocent a 
manner. On another occasion (I did not hear of this from 
him) when pursued, in order to lighten his canoe, he 
threw into the sea those of his slaves who were unable to 
afford any assistance in paddling it. 

' ' I need not say more about his adventures, there being 
a good deal already recorded as to his Wars in works on 
New Zealand. But what few people had an opportunity 
of understanding as well as I had, was his great ability. 


I had many opportunities of hearing him relate his past 
history and the various wars he had been engaged in, as 
well as his contrivances to out-wit or elude his enemies. 
I lived in a whare a few hundred yards from the old pa, 
near the mouth of the Otaki River. Sometimes in an 
afternoon he would come and knock at my door and ask 
whether I was disengaged, and if so could we have a 
talk. He said that in the pa they only talked about pigs 
and potatoes, and he got tired of it. This did not suit the 
petty sovereign whose occupation was gone. He would 
then go back to very early times and relate the state of the 
various Maori tribes — their relations to one another, and 
their wars. I had often heard discussions on the advant- 
age in Europe of maintaining the balance of power in 
order to prevent one nation being overpowered by others, 
and the advantage of this questioned. To hear this old 
man talk, and learn how he had on several occasions 
managed to play off one tribe against another, and thus 
preserve his own independence and maintain the security 
of his tribe, was most astonishing. 

"He was always, from my first interview with him, 
courteous and civil. How far he would have been so, 
had not his only son, Tamihana Katu, and his nephew, 
Matene te Whiwhi, been cordially co-operating with me, 
I am unable to say. He often gave me assistance, but 
never, though he occasionally came to church and 
remained during the whole service, professed belief in 
Christianity, or desired to be baptised. When it was 
resolved to build a good church at "Waikanae, as totara 
for some parts of the building could not be obtained there, 
he agreed that it should be procured from a forest pre- 
serve of his at Otaki. He went there with me and 
selected some of the finest trees. He encouraged his 
people in their work. As it was impossible to complete 
our work there that day we determined to pass the night 
in the forest, and we prepared to sleep there comfortably 
by the side of a large fire which he had kindled. He said 


he did not sleep much, and would take care to keep the 
fire well supplied with fuel. He sat talking for a long 
time, and seemed greatly pleased that we had felled one 
good tree suitable for the ridge-piece of the church of 
his former enemies — the Ngatiawa. As I sat by the fire 
with this old man — the rest of the working party had gone 
to a distance that we might be quiet — I could not but 
'reflect on the inscrutable nature of man. There was, it 
was evident, a humane side of the character even of a 
man who had the reputation of being the most desperate 
and unscrupulous of his race. He never deceived me, 
and always placed implicit confidence in the truth of all 
I said. I must now conclude. Some years later Sir 
George Grey, who had ascertained that his sympathy 
with his nephew, Te Rangihaeata, who was in open rebel- 
lion, had become dangerous, apprehended and detained 
him on board a man-of-war. He did not resent this, as 
he knew it had saved him and his people from trouble. 
He subsequently died at Otaki." 

Rangihaeata was quite a different man. He had no 
diplomacy but plenty of bounce and bluster, was cruel 
to a degree, and had nothing admirable in his character, 
unless perhaps loyalty to his Chief, and his bravery. 

Te Whatanui on all hands was a much more lovable 
character, mild in disposition, and did much to curb the 
savage doings of the other two with whom he was 



Such was the condition of affairs when the first 
settlers arrived in Wellington Harbour and landed at 
Petone on the 22nd of January, 1840. The Maoris who 
had been driven from Poneke (Port Nicholson) by Te 
Rauparaha had returned and made fast friends with the 
new settlers, soon selling them land at the Hutt for farming 
purposes. The whole district was covered with bush, and 
the immigrants who had bought scrip in London from the 
New Zealand Land Company were eager to get some land 
to begin their work of settlement. What a grand body of 
men and women these people were — these Empire 
builders — who had left the home of their birth, and all 
their friends behind, to strike out for themselves in an 
absolutely new country amidst a savage race, and under 
the most adverse circumstances; but the pluck and 
endurance they one and all showed, makes us to this day 
proud of our race. Many of the early settlers of Rangi- 
tikei came at this time, of which we will hear more 
bye-and-bye. Some of these settled at the Hutt. From 
the beginning these settlers had trouble with the Maoris, 
especially with one who was called "Dog's Ear." It was 
thought at the time that this was at the instigation of Te 
Rauparaha, who had been paid £200 for his tribe's claim, 
by way of conquest, in the land purchased about 
Wellington, but it was possible that Rangihaeata was the 
instigator of the natives disturbing the settlers. At any 
rate a number of very disaffected and low class natives 
under no chief, gathered about the Hutt and levied a 
species of blackmail on the struggling settlers, and this 
culminated in an unprovoked attack on some of the people 


in the Hutt Valley. The military were called out and 
camped in the Valley, where they were surprised by 
natives, supposed to have come from Porirua. A very 
touching incident occurred when the natives surprised the 
camp. A little bugler boy was awakened by some noise, 
and reached out for his bugle to blow a warning note, 
but before he could do so, a Maori struck his arm with a 
tomahawk and disabled him. Nothing daunted, he 
changed hands and blew a few notes before he was struck 
down by a blow on the head.* We shall hear more of this 
bugle later on. After the Maoris were driven back they 
went back to Porirua, and the information was conveyed 
to Governor Grey that there would be no peace until Te 
Rauparaha was captured. The following is a description 
of the capture of the famous chief. 

Te Rauparaha was alone in the whare when he was 
taken. There had been a number of other Maoris in the 
whare, but when they heard the tramp of the men they 
fled, and Te Rauparaha, who was seemingly on the best of 
terms with the soldiers, remained behind, as he never 

*The story of this bugler boy was told to me by the late Hon. 
John Boyce, who said there was no record of the boy's name. 
Since then I have seen that his name was Allen, and it would be 
a fitting occasion for a stone and tablet to record the place of his 
heroic death. The incident forms the subject of a touching little 
poem published in the Wellington Oirls' College Beporter, under 
the initials of A.V.T., who will probably not object to my quoting 
a couple of stanzas. After describing the appearance of the 
Maoris as "phantom fiends," and how Allen, instead of saving his 
life by disappearance into the bush, thought of "sleeping souls, 
nnconscious of the strife. ' ' 

"He raised his bugle, and with clarion sound 
The clear reveille filled the sleeping vale: 
' Awake ! Awake ! ' the rocks and hills around 
Sent back the echoes in the dawning pale. 

The poor boy had his arm hacked, and then — 

"But swift as thought he, with the other hand. 
With ambidexterous twist, ere it could fall, 
Caught up the bugle and — niefiant, grand — 
Sent once again the shrill and piercing call. 

"Another cruel blow and Allen fell, 

As Britons fall, his duty nobly done." 


dreamed that it was he who was to be taken. The small 
body of men who were sent with some of the sailors to 
capture the old man belonged to what was known as the 
Carbine Rifles, under Major Durie, and the two selected 
to go into the whare and affect the capture were John 
Frazer, who afterwards lived at Rangitikei, and a sailor 
from the "Calliope," called White. When Te Rauparaha 
was laid hold of he made a struggle to get away, and is 
said to have nearly bitten White's thumb off. But this 
time the wily old savage was not able to effect an escape. 
He was placed on board the "Calliope" and kept there 
some time, where he seems to have thoroughly enjoyed 

Rangihaeata wanted to sack Wellington, but after a 
fight in Horokiwi Valley he retired to Poroutawhao, a 
little south of the Manawatu, and never afterwards 
troubled the Europeans. 

In the year 1882 I had the pleasure of a ride down 
the coast from Foxton with James Wallace, Secretary of 
the Manawatu Railway Company, and John Gower, of 
Foxton, with Morgan Carkeek as guide. Mr. Gower, and 
myself went to value the land belonging to the Railway 
Company, so as to float a loan on the security of the land 
We rode out through the sand hills and on through Mr 
Davis's property, Whirokino (where we were hospitably 
entertained), to Poroutawhao, and I thought a fairer and 
more peaceful view I had never seen. It was to this place 
that Rangihaeata retired, after Te Rauparaha was de- 
tained a prisoner. He caught the measles and determined 
to go to Otaki. "On reaching the Waikawa, and feeling 
hot and feverish he plunged into the river: he went on 
to Otaki, but soon became worse, and died in two days, in 
November, 1856," (Beavan's Reminiscences of an old 
Colonist). There was a great tangi at Poroutawhao, as 
might be expected, and his body was carried up to a hill 
called Paeroa, overlooking the settlement, and deposited 
on the ground, a whare being built over it. The shingles 


(when we saw the whare which had been built over the 
coffin) had by this time all rotted off, and looking through 
the roof we could see the totara coffin of plain boards, 
and alongside had been placed his belongings, the remains 
of a saddle, a pair of moleskins, a pair of braces, and a pair 
of elastic-sided boots. There lay the remains of this old 
warrior, who at one time was the terror of the Coast, 
a cniel rum drinking savage, but one who had made 
history. As far as the Europeans were concerned they 
did not regret his demise. 

"When I next saw Sir George Grey I told him of the 
state of his old foe's grave, and he gave me £10 to get 
Hone Taipua to have it done up. What state it is in now 
I have no idea, but it was the most incongruous sight I 
have ever witnessed. This old "terror's" grave, though 
it was a beautiful scene around, and now the pakeha has 
crept in and ^'ultivated the land. It has lost the old 
romance and is left to a few Maoris, hemmed in on all 
sides by successful European cultivation. 

On the death of Rangihaeata the men who had fought 
under him wandered up the coast, some of them settling 
along the Rangitikei River, and this accounts for so many 
different families and tribes living in that district. 



The first note I have of the advent of the pakeha in 
Rangitikei is from the Rev. Mr. Taylor's diary, from which 
I had the privilege of copying that which related to the 
district, through Mr. "W. Downes' kindness. 

Parson Taylor's Diary. 

"Jan. 28, 1848.— I arose by five left a little after 6 for 
Rangitikei on the mule. It got into a quicksand in the 
Whangaehu. I had to dismount and walk through the 
river. We reached Parawanui about five and found a 
large number of natives assembled. 1st. — I hear many 
reports about the Governor that Mr. Tudor persuaded the 
Governor not to go to Otaki because there were many armed 
natives there, so he turned back. 2nd. That the Governor 
desired Rangihaieta to give him the meeting, but that chief 
told the Governor to go to him, that he told him to give 
up Pairouia a murderer which he declined doing. 

That "Waikanae natives are going to Waitara. 

That the Governor and Taria have quarrelled. 

That Rauparaha is going to Otago in the steamer. 

It is surprising how they invent reports like these. I 
had no sooner said, 'How do you do' to them, than I had to 
hold a meeting with them about men praying to the atua 
(God) Kikokiko. They said they had given him up finding 
he w^as an atua ieka (false god). One told me the reason 
he gave him up was not to exalt him but God, that if his 
faith in God was unshaken he could be saved, but if it was 
small he would perish, which I showed him the folly of 
going to him — ^he said "he heard a voice come up out of 



the ground," he went to the house of some woman (Mata 
wife of Meehana of Oroua). I suggested it was nothing 
but ventriloquism he heard, and told him what such people 
could do. He said, "Now he saw how it was, especially 
as the woman sought for heavy presents, to remunerate 
the atua they worshipped." I enquired how they could 
think of going to him — ^they said "this new sickness drove 
them to it." They now firmly believe it to have been a 
delusion & I trust will listen to me. 

29th. — I had a very large & attentive congregation this 
morning. Afterwards I visited the sick & dispensed medi- 
cine and books. I then spoke to some candidates for 
baptism amongst whom was Te Hauea, the principal chief 
of this place. I thence went to Marama te hoia a sm^ill pa 
on the other side of the river built by a party of Rangi- 
haieta's men under Parata, they received me with great 
respect & wished me to baptise about 6 of their children 
which I have engaged to do after evening service. I spoke to 
the candidates for the sacrament & rejected the teacher 
for listening to this false god. One native said he had 
seen the spirit of his child who died some time previously. 
That it attached itself to a woman and never left her. He 
wanted to know "whether he might eat the sacrament." 
Afterwards we held a prayer meeting of the teachers for 
this place who had been induced to listen to the designing who pretended to speak for the God. 

30th. — This morning the first thing we held a meeting 
of the teachers to consider whether the present ones of this 
place are to continue in their office : it was decided they 
should. It appears that this singular infatuation for such 
it can only be called commenced with a baptised woman 
of Manawatu, Mr. Hadfield and a man named Enoch of 
Turakina a Wesleyan appear at one time to have 
gained many proselytes by prophesying evil of those who 
did not join them. Enoch has prophesied my death, which 
he says will take place very soon. I administered the 
sacrament to about 76, excluding the teachers for their bad 


conduct. I baptised the principal chief of this place — ^we 
had long spoken to him on the subject, but hitherto he 
could not make up his mind to give up one of his 2 wives. 
We hear now he has made that sacrifice & has become a 
member of the outward Christian Church. He is a vener- 
able looking person, his hair is quite white, and hangs in 
long locks on his shoulders. After service he was cryed 
over by all who still remain unbaptised, the wife he has 
retained was also baptised by the name of Harata. 
Amongst the children baptised was that of a man who was 
killed in the Horokiwi fight, he was one of the murderers 
of Gillespie. Parata the chief of the party of the hostile 
natives residing on this river brought hLs child to be bap- 
tised, he is a fine determined looking man, he expresses 
himself as most anxious to live in peace & has petitioned 
me to give him a supply of books as all theirs was burnt in 
their Chapel at the Hutt when it was set fire to by the 
soldiers. One of his party is to accompany me to-morrow 
for them. I distributed medicines. In the evening we had 
a heavy thunder storm, the lightning was vivid, the thunder 
loud & the rain heavy. It seemed very solemn in the dark 
sitting in my tent. The natives said that formerly their 
gods were moths spiders and beetles, a number of which 
with clouds of mosquitoes flew into my tent and were 
killed by the natives. I bade them remark the difference 
between such weak insects crushed between the fingers and 
the solemn voice of the Lord, heard in the thunder & his 
fiery eye as seen in the vivid flash. 

Jan. 31. — I arose at 4 — after prayers I married Hauea 
& his wife Harata I left about 6 & reached home about 
three having got the mule bogged in passing through a 

Again on Nov. 30 : 

Reached Parewanui, the largest assemblage I have ever 
had in this place fully five hundred & plentiful supply of 
food of which dried eels were the most prominent article. 


They have enclosed about i^ of an acre with a substantial 
& lofty screen & this is to serve as a church. I had about 
1000 present at the evening service. ... I walked to 
Marama i hoia. . . Mr. Duncan from Foxton present 
& assisted in dispensing sacrament of which 336 partook. 
Put over Rangitikei by Mr. Chamberlain." 



The first or lower pa in the Bangitikei seems to have 
been on the south side of the river, near its mouth, and 
was called Tawhirihoe, but this was used more as a sea- 
side resort, where the Maoris caught and dried their supply 
of fish. Ihakara, the chief, really lived near Awahou, 
Foxton, but occasionally went over to Rangitikei partly 
to show his power of possession, and partly to get the 
season 's supply of food. He and his people belonged to the 
Ngatiraukawa tribe. The next pa was situated on the 
same side of the river and occupied by Te Hakeke, Hunia's 
father. It was he who had made such a determined 
attack on Te Rauparaha at Kapiti, where 1,000 canoes were 
said to have conveyed the attacking party, which Te Rau- 
paraha, taking in detail, defeated and drove off. Mr. John 
Stevens, who gave me this information, stated that there 
were about 200 natives in this pa when he knew it first, and 
it was situated where Mr. Arthur Amon lived at Awahou, 
on the Rangitikei, before he went into his own place across 
the river. On the other side of the river was the big pa of 
the Ngatiapas at Parewanui. Here the principal chiefs 
were Hunia, Mohi Mahi, and Rawiri, the latter being a 
preacher, for Christianity had spread rapidly amongst the 
Maoris from the Rev, Mr. Hadfield's teaching at Otaki, 
and that of the Revs. Mr. Mason and Mr. Taylor at 
Putiki. Running up from Parewanui were a number of 
smaller pas, or more correctly kaingas. The first was 
Taungatara, where Ratana lived. Mr. Stevens has vivid 
recollections of the excellence of the peaches in the grove 
near-by. The next was Watotara, and a little further up 
was Waikonehu, close to the river. In all, about 500 or 


600 Maoris lived in these kaingas. At Maramahoia, on 
the left bank of the river, the natives were chiefly Ngati- 
maniapoto, and several hapus lived in the neighbourhood — 
Heroniana, Kerehana and others to the number of about 
200. Near where Mr, T. Cameron lives, at Mangamahoe, 
was a further settlement of the Ngatiraukawas, about 
fifty natives in all. Wi Pukapuka, who is said to have 
betrayed Charles Broughton, the interpreter, lived there. 
Napia Taratoa lived at Matahiwi with about 150 or 200 

Another tribe altogether had a pa on Mr. Simpson's 
land, but the site has been washed away by the river. 
There were Ngatipos, who belonged to the Ngatituwhare- 
toas from the slopes of Tongariro. These people were 
much averse to Europeans, and although they traded with 
them afterwards and took produce down to Scott's, they 
were always a dangerous lot. Had it not been for Napia 
Taratoa, who lived close by, and who was well disposed to 
the pakehas, there would often have been trouble. They 
had "squatted" there without any right, but eventually 
left the district. Mr. Stevens tells of an adventure in his 
boyhood's days with these people. His father had bought 
a pair of bullocks from the natives at Awahuri, and they 
had got away. "Johnny" was sent after them, clad, as 
he describes it, in a pair of trousers too short for him, a 
shirt and vest, without boots, stockings or hat, and a strand 
of flax for a bridle on his pony. He crossed the river to 
look for the lost bullocks, but they were not to be seen. 
Boy-like, his eye caught sight of some very attractive 
melons, and, seeing no owner about, he selected one, and 
was just getting on his pony, when an old Maori jumped up 
and called out to him that "that was a theft." This had 
to be acknowledged, but feeling somewhat nervous as to his 
position, and knowing the character of the people, the cul- 
prit felt his pockets and by good chance came across a 
sixpence he had not yet hid in his buried store. The old 
Maori looked at the proffered "hikipene" and said. "Yes, 


that was alright for the melon, but what about the tahae 
(theft). However, the boy thought he had paid enough, 
and hearing voices in the distance, rode away, making off 
with the melon, crossing the river, and sat down near the 
Tutaenui stream (which then ran out much lower down 
than it does now), just opposite Raumai gate, and going 
into some bush (which is all washed away now), he tied 
his pony up and proceeded to enjoy his spoil. Alas for the 
fleeting enjoyment, looking up through the bush he espied 
a pair of brown legs approaching, so throwing the melon 
away he jumped on his pony and rode up the river, 
thinking to escape that way; but he was surrounded, and 
only get away by jumping a big fallen tree when the 
Maoris thought they had him. Pulling a "lunar" at the 
discomforted pursuers he scampered away up to the top of 
Rangitoto, behind Mr, Paulin's, and watched where the 
Maoris went, and only came down when he saw them 
crassing the river. Had he been caught he would probably 
have been imprisoned until ransomed by his people. As 
it was, his father had to pay a considerable sum to silence 
the Maoris. Fortunately, for the peace of the district, 
these Ngatipos moved on after a while and returned to the 
sullen slopes of Tongariro. 

Napia Taratoa lived at Matahiwi with about 150 to 
200 Maoris of the Ngatiraukawa. Taratoa had had some 
of his tribe down from Maungatautari at the invitation of 
Te Rauparaha, and had apparently settled down at Mata- 
hiwi, either purposing to return by-and-bye to his native 
land, or occupy, by virtue of conquest, the fine land in the 
neighbourhood of his pa. Although Wakefield in his 
"Adventure in New Zealand" in 1844 speaks in derogatory 
terms of this chief in connection with the crossing of the 
Manawatu, he was looked upon by his neighbours in Rangi- 
tikei as a man of integrity, whose word was never doubted. 
A little further up the river, near the old mill site, was 
a Ngatiapa pa, Kawana Hunia's (Pukapukatea), and 
just below the present gravel pit was another pa, where 


Te Waitere lived, the latter, a huge powerful Maori whom 
Mr. Stevens in his boyhood admired as the finest specimen 
of a man he had ever seen. 

Further up at Ohinepuiawe, still on the south side, was 
another section of the Ngatiraukawas belonging to the 
Ngatiparewahawaha, also from Maungatautari, the prin- 
cipal men being Aperahama to Horo Horo and Hare 
Rewiti; altogether there were about 150 natives there, and 
also a South Sea Islander, called Tamihana. 

Opposite on the north bank near the bridge was a 
Ngatiapa settlement where Rakapa's mother (Mrs. Hare 
Rewiti) lived. This eventually was sold to Mr. James 
Bull, and is now all beautifully grassed land, mostly held 
by Mr. Charles Ellery. When the surveyors poled up the 
river, they came to this spot and camped. The river then 
ran between much narrower baiiks than now, and the 
koromiko and kowhai growing close down to the river's 
edge. They thought it so beautiful that they called it 
Potakina (the nearest the Maoris could get to Port 
Jackson). The surveyors were George Swainson, Robert 
Park, John Knowles and David Porter. There were about 
50 or 60 natives settled here. 

Just under the cemetery was a pretty little flat, culti- 
vated by a Maori who went by the name of "Big Hori." 
He had ''squatted" after the affair of the Hutt, on 
Ohinepuiawe and married Mata. Hare Rewiti 's mother. 
His real name was Hori Papuahuahu. Everyone speaks of 
him as being a magnificent man, who was immensely strong. 
On this cultivation under the cemetery he had wheat, 
potatoes, kumaras and tara on at least ten acres, which 
was a large piece of land for one family to cultivate. 

It is not to be supposed that these natives living in 
proximity (with their strong fighting instinct) would live 
in peace, and it is said that in an engagement at Te Aku, 
on the flat just before you descend to the Tutaenui from 
Bulls, a memorable single combat took place between Te 
Waitere and Big Hori. The latter had pinned Waitere to 


the ground after a great struggle, and had driven his spear 
down in the ground, and was holding his opponent down 
against it, when, with a Herculean twLst, Waitere 
wrenched himself free, broke the spear and got clear. 

Still further up the river, on the left bank, beginning 
at Kakariki and right up to the Waituna, were a series of 
pas of the Ngatipikiahu section of the Ngatiraukawas and 
a few Ngatimaniapoto. The last of the Ngatiapa pas was 
close to the Onepuhi Bridge on the York Farm side, where 
a man called Matiaha lived, the supposed boundary 
between the Ngatiapas and the next tribe, the Ngatiwhitis, 
was just beyond Major Marshall's at the Hou Hou. On 
the left bank again at Pikitara there was a Ngatiapa pa 
where Huiwa was born. 



I have been somewhat prolix over these Maori tribes, 
because they have a very important bearing upon the sale 
of the land on both sides of the river. The sale of the land 
on the eastern side caused much excitement, and nearly led 
to an outbreak of hostilities. The explanation is that the 
various sections claimed the land and their share of the 
purchase-money and reserves. The first purchase we have 
to deal with is the land between the Rangitikei and the 
Turakina. The land near Wanganui had been bought, as 
described in Wakefield's "Adventure in New Zealand," 
but still the demand for land was unsatisfied, and settlers 
were coming in by every vessel, hoping to get land for 
themselves and their families to settle on. I am fortunate 
enough to be able to give a very interesting account of the 
purchase by the Hon. J. D. Ormond, who was present when 
Sir Donald McLean (then Mr.) bought the land. Mr. 
Ormond was private secretary to his brother-in-law, 
Lieutenant-Governor Eyre, and Mr. McLean asked him to 
come up to Rangitikei, where he would get good sport, — 
duck shooting — and that is how he came to be present. 
He describes the purchase as follows : — 

"The Rangitikei purchase was the first large operation 
in land buying in the Wellington Province. Of course, 
Wellington, the Hutt and Wanganui had been purchased 
in earlier days, but in 1849 the increase of population 
required that efforts should be made to acquire land for 
settlement. Mr. Donald McLean, Land Purchase Commis- 
sioner, had been successful in making purchases in New 
Plymouth, and he was employed to endeavour to secure 
some land for settlement out of the then waste lands on 
the West Coast. 


' ' After enquiry he elected to attempt the purchase of the 
Rangitikei block. I remember him telling me that the 
reasons which influenced him to select the Rangitikei 
block were that the ownership was not disputed, while at 
the same time the block was very desirable for settlement, 
also that it had few native owners. So he opened the way to 
the purchase by getting the native tribes interested to hold 
a meeting at Rangitikei to discuss the question of owner- 
ship and sale, he having first obtained from the resident 
owners, the Ngatiapas, an offer to sell.* 

Mr. Ormond continues: — 

"Arrangements were made, and a very large meeting 
assembled at Parewanui. Very few Europeans were pre- 
sent at that meeting, the only ones I remember were : Mr. 
Donald McLean, Mr. Park, a well-known surveyor, who 
had been in the employ of the Association that settled 
Wellington, Mr. Godfrey Thomas, a half-brother of Sir 
George Grey's and then Government Auditor for New 
Munster. He and I went to the meeting on the invitation 
of Mr. McLean, and remained there through the meeting. 
We travelled from Wellington chiefly on the beach. The 
road went inland at Manawatu to cross the river at the 
ferry. The other rivers were mostly fordable. We lived 
in a native house erected by the natives for the use of Mr. 
McLean. The only other European that I remember at 
the meeting was Mr. Scott, who kept the ferry over the 

*These earlier negotiations may have been going on for some 
time, for in reply to a question of mine re the date, Mr. Beavan, of 
Manakau, says: — "Mr. McLean had commenced the purchase of the 
Rangitikei block in 1847, but the sale took place on the 15th May, 
1849. The reason it was delayed was on account of Te Rauparaba 
and Te Hangihaeata being furious at the suggestion that the Ngatiapa 
tribe — whom they described as the remnant of their meals — should 
have a voice in the sale at all. The angry disputes went on for two 
years before the sale." When the meeting took place, therefore, at 
Parewauui in May, 1849, the natives who had any claim to the block, 
the Ngatiapas by reason of residence, and the Ngatiraukawas by 
reason of conquest, formed themselves, as Mr. Ormond describes, into 
two parties: the Ngatiapas were on one side called the sellers, and 
the Ngatiraukawas, under Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata, were 
the non-sellers. 


river and was present occasionally. I do not think that 
any other European was living in that part of the district, 
but at Manawatu Mr. John Kebbell lived on the bank of 
the river, and had a flour mill there to grind the wheat, 
which was grown in considerable quantities by the natives. 
There was another settler resident in Manawatu (Mr. 
Robinson) who had some sheep and cattle there. These 
were the only settlers of those days as far as I can 

"The meeting was held in a large square, enclosed 
on three sides by lines of sheds, lean-to fashion, in which 
the natives lived during the meeting. Cooking was done 
outside, and the food brought in. The other end was 
occupied by the house built for Mr. McLean. 

"The meeting must have taken place in the autumn of 
1849 (I cannot give the exact date), but we lived largely 
on wild ducks and pigeons, shot by Godfrey Thomas and 
myself, and which at that time were in fine condition. 
There were heaps of food. Flour, sugar, potatoes, pigs, a 
bullock occasionally, dried fish, and in limited quantities 
(for the chiefs) preserved pigeons and tuis. Many of 
these were shot and brought in every day. The parcelling 
out of the food at the beginning of the meeting was a 
great eert^mony. separate lines of flour, sugar, etc., were 
stacked, and handed over to each tribe or section of natives. 

"When the meeting opened there were present about 
4,000 people. On the one side, and near Mr. McLean's 
house, sat the sellers, the Ngatiapa tribe under their chief. 
Kawana Hunia, to the number of about 400 or 500, and 
with them were a few Rangitanes, also old owners. 

"On the opposite side sat the non-sellers, most of the 
visiting natives, chiefly Ngatiraukawas and Ngatiawas. 
Their chiefs were Te Rauparaha, Te Rangihaeata and Napia 
Taratoa. I should say he came next in importance to Te 
Rauparaha, and as an owner before him. 

"At the commencement the sellers were the Rangitikei 
resident native chiefs, who, it was known, were supported 


by the Wangannis. These natives were at the other end of 
the en(3losure, their chiefs being Mete Kingi and Taitoko 
Te Rangihiwinui (betteir known afterwards as Major 
Kemp, who helped the English during the war, and was 
presented with a sword by Queen Victoria). The pro- 
ceedings were almost without interest for some days. 
Every morning the natives assembled ready to greet Mr. 
McLean, and it was very noticeable how few the sellers 
were in comparison to the non-sellers. Mr. McLean showed 
marvellous tact, patience and bearing. He was always 
courteous, patient and on the best of terms with all parties. 
As he went about among them he was always saying some- 
thing that pleased them, and at the formal speechifying 
he was against haste — 'let everything be well considered." 
was his daily advice. A peculiar feature of the proceedings 
was that he held an almost continuous reception of chiefs, 
and it was marvellous how he was able night after night 
to receive visits from principal men and women, never more 
than two or three at a time, and they never seemed to get 
in one another's way — when one party left, shortly after, 
another party would come. Mr. McLean generally sat up 
on his mat, and the visitors also sat liear him. When he 
slept, we in the same house never knew. It seemed to us 
he never had rest, and was always the same to his visitors, 
courteous, kind and genial. The success of the purchase 
was undoubtedly due to his tact and patience. He never 
had the same trouble with other purchases. It seemed as 
if the report of that meeting had been circulated widely 
among the natives, and selling become the rage. ' '* 

*A8 illustrating that rage on the part of the Maoris to sell, Mr. 
Ormond says: "I was with Mr. McLean when he paid his first land 
purchase visit to Hawke's Bay in 1853. We started at Wangamoaua 
(Purves Russell's place then on the Wairarapa Lake). John Russell 
carried the gold, and had sentries placed every night over the 
treasure, so we were a considerable party. We travelled up the coast, 
generally with an escort of 200 or 300 natives. Old Hapuku and 
several other big chiefs were of the party. Nearly every night blocks 
of land were offered, and small advances made on them. J. E. 
Fitzgerald afterwards described that as 'McLean's potato planting.' 
That was my first visit to Hawke's Bay, and it was then I took a 
lease of Wallingford from the natives." 


"We (Mr. Thomas and myself) wondered how Mr. 
McLean existed, as whenever we woke at night, there he was 
engaged with one or more — ^never more than two or three 
chiefs at a time. 

"It was arranged, at Mr. McLean's request, that Mr. 
Park should go over the boundaries of the block accom- 
panied by representatives of the different tribes, to take 
note of their claims, and so on, G. Thomas and myself 
accompanied the party. The ride was a long one, we were 
away three days and camped out two nights. The country 
was very rough and travelling difficult when we got off 
the native tracks. Most of the vegetation was toi toi and 
scrub, with bush here and there. Travelling was very slow 
as the natives had frequently to make crossings over boggy 
places, or make a track down banks of streams. The 
country looked well, however, although it was rough, I 
remember Park, who had some experience, kept saying, 
What a grand country it would be when settled. ' I 
cannot describe the route we went, we were supposed to 
be shown the boundaries of the block to be sold, so that 
Park could estimate areas. We often went out of the way 
to see some striking object or locality which Park located, 
and which was wanted to estimate the areas of the different 
tribes of sellers. 

"After nearly a week, McLean told us not to go away, 
that a change was coming, and in the afternoon the Wan- 
ganuis announced that they had come to the conclusion 
that the best way to settle all the different claims of owner- 
ship was to sell to the Government, and after this they 
rose, left the part of the enclosure they had occupied, and 
seated themselves by the sellers and original owners, the 
Ngatiapas, Following this the speechifying became much 
more excited, violent language, etc.. being constant, but 
every morning before speechifying started the ranks of the 
selling party were added to by sometimes a large, some- 
times a small party, until the sellers were manifestly in 
the majority. Again Mr. McLean told us not to go away. 


>'V\> \;\^ 


Te Rauparaha 
By Rev. J. Gilfillan 


that the end was coming, and the proceedings opened by 
Te Rauparaha making a speech notifying that most of his 
people agreed to the sale. Directly he sat down — (I forgot 
to say that all the speeches were made by natives running 
backwards and forwards, gesticulating, etc.) — Te Rangi- 
haeata rose, a tall gaunt savage in appearance, clothed in 
a dogskin mat. He was in a towering rage. Rushed back- 
wards and forwards, leiiping in the air and yelling impre- 
cations. After a time the dogskin mat came off, and stark 
naked he rushed to where old Te Rauparaha sat in front 
of his people, leaning over him he yelled every taunt and 
filthy term of abuse he knew; called Te Rauparaha dog, 
slave-thing, and his tongue was a wonderful sight, it 
hung out an enormous length, and his filthy spittle dribbled 
on to the old chief he was abusing. Te Rauparaha sat per- 
fectly still, never seemed to move or take any notice. At 
last Rangihaeata. utterly exhausted, stopped, shouted to 
his followers to accompany him and leave their slaves to 
finish their evil work, and he went off. 

**That was the end of the meeting. The next day the 
deed of sale was signed by all the principal people, and 
the purchase of Rangitikei was concluded." 

The enclosure which Mr. Ormond speaks of must have 
been over near the house in which Hunia. lived, and soiue 
distance from the present road. 

To anyone who has seen a native meeting Mr. Ormond 's 
graphic description pictures to him the whole transaction, 
with the ever courteous Highlander, "Sir Donald," 
patiently awaiting the end he knew must come. It is told 
of him that he wished to get a recalcitrant Maori to sign 
a deed, and he went to his pa, shook hands, said nothing 
and sat down. For some days he remained a silent visitor, 
till at last the Maori said, "What do you want Makarini — 
I will sign." 

He was truly a grand old gentleman, and his Celtic 
blood and temperament made him an ideal man to deal 
with the procrastinating Maori. 


Mr. Ormond at my request gave me some impressions 
he had of Te Rauparaha, as follows: — 

"The big earthquake occurred at Wellington and 
across the Straits in November, 1848. Te Rauparaha was 
staying at the time near the scene of the Wairau massacre, 
and was thrown out of his bunk and hurt. I remember 
there was a lot of talk about this amongst the Maoris at 
Otaki, and it was spoken of as a sort of judgment for his 
part in the Wairau massacre. I know he returned to Otaki 
after that. As to whether he was infirm at the time of the 
meeting — he was an old man, somewhat bent, and very 
cruel looking, but he was well enough to speak at the 
meeting, and visited McLean often in the whare at night." 

There are very few Maoris who are alive now who were 
present at the sale. The only ones that I have been able 
find (writing in May, 1910) are Ratana Ngahina,* Rakapa 
te Ratapu, who married the late Hare Rewiti, and is living 
at Ohinepuiawe, and an old man up at Kauangaroa, named 
Aperahama Mungumangu. 

Ratana told me he was about 17 years old at the time 
of the sale, but has a distinct recollection of the whole 
scene, and remembered that Messrs. Ormond and Thomas 
were there. I asked about the ducks in those days, and 
where these two visitors were taken. He replied that 
"there were ducks everywhere — the Hou and all up and 
down the river. ' ' It seems doubtful, however, if they went 
into the lakes on Waitatapia, as they would be too rough. 
On my asking who went with them as "gillies" he said, 
"Oh there were plenty of lads about only too willing to 
go with them, and they (the visitors) seemed to do nothing 
else every day." 

I was anxious to find out the site of the whare where 
Mr. McLean lived, surrounded by the Maoris during the 
sale. He said it was now all washed away by the river, 
but was at a pa almost straight opposite Hunia's house. 

^Batana died since the above was written. 


There was one thing, however, I could not understand — 
the sale apparently could not take place unless Te Rau- 
paraha agreed to it, yet when I came to examine the deed, 
I found he had not signed it. On enquiry from Ratana 
why this was, he said, ""Why, because he had nothing to do 
with the land." Of course Ratana at the time must have 
been only a lad, and perhaps was not aware of the 
immense power Te Rauparaha exerted. Yet he had lost his 
fire, he was an old man; had been prisoner on board a 
man-of-war for a year; had realized that the pakeha had 
come to stay, and that it was useless to try to stem the 
flow of the tide. Yet, despite all this, one cannot help 
thinking that those nightly visits to "Makarini" were 
not made without some expectation of payment for his 
acquiescence. We know how eager he was to receive money 
from the pakeha for everything he did, and that he was 
a great rum lover, like Te Rangihaeata, and one cannot 
help suspecting that Mr. McLean gave him some douceur 
for his consent. Mr. Stevens thinks that this is almost 
certain to be the case, and that it was the disappointed 
rage of not receiving any utu that caused Te Rangihaeata 
to revile his old chief with such vehemence. I asked 
Ratana if Te Rauparaha got any of the money for the 
sale, but he * * did not know, though he did not think so. ' ' 

I also inquired of the route taken by the party who 
made the tour of inspection spoken of by Mr. Ormond, 
and Ratana was able to give me a description of it. The 
three Europeans, I understand, had horses, but the Maoris 
who accompanied them were on foot, and numbered perhaps 
fifty. They started from Parewanui, must have gone out 
across what is now Waitatapia to the sea coast, and thence 
along the beach to Turakina, where they probably stayed 
the night. Hunia and Ratana, who had accompanied them 
thus far, returned, and the rest went on up the Turakina 
River. They could not go right to the boundary because 
of the bush, but they pointed out (from the nearest point 
they could get to it), the prominence just above the river 



which was the mark of the boundary. Then they turned 
east and went across country, probably what is now known 
as the bridle track, and came to the Rangitikei River at 
the Hou Hou on the river just below Rata, and here they 
stayed another night. This pa where they stayed must have 
been occupied by the adjoining tribe, the Ngatiwhitis, who 
were, however, friendly, and into which tribe Hunia had 
married. The next day they came right down the river, 
and, as far as I could gather from Ratana, they must have 
come right down the higher bemk, probably passing on the 
lower flat at York Farm and Westoe, and then climbing 
the cliff, somewhere near the present road, to avoid the 
swamp lower down, and the dense bush then growing all 
the way to the "lower Holm." Ratana made it quite 
clear that at that time they could not come all the way 
down the river bed, although the Ngatiraukawas, who came 
down to assist Te Rauparaha from Maungatautari, are 
always said to have come down the river bed. Probably 
they had made "dug outs," and carried their food, furni- 
ture and women and children down the river in these, and 
the men walked or hunted on the banks. The only Maoris 
whom Ratana could remember accompanied Park and 
party were Waka Kawariki, Watarawi and Turangapitu. 

If one had the imagination and pen of a Sir Walter 
Scott, this meeting where the purchase took place, might 
be made the groundwork of an interesting novel, but it 
must be left for the present. 

The scene at Parewanui must have been a unique one. 
To have seen all these thousands of Maoris met together, 
on the most important event of their lives, selling their 
ancestral lands, which had been the subject of countless 
fights and disputes, the sale conducted by one man on the 
one side, and great numbers on the other, and completed 
without a blow and with few disputes, yet since the pur- 
chase not a word of discontent or dispute about the 
boundaries occurred. It is a monument to the tact, wisdom 
and ability of Sir Donald McLean. Small wonder that the 


Maoris should think him a great Bangatira, and remained 
"squatting" round about in the square in the morning 
until he came out and they could greet him with their 
usual shout of welcome. Such a scene will never be 
witnessed again. 



We have arrived at the point that the land had been 
bought. It remained for the Deed of Sale to be signed and 
the money paid over. 

I had yet to find out about the date of the sale, and 
whether the deed was in existence. After many enquiries, 
I at last, through the good offices of Mr. Sheridan, found 
what I wanted in the office of the Under Secretary of 
Crown Lands, Mr. Kensington, who kindly furnished me 
with a copy of the original deed. There was, however, no 
map in connection with it, but anyone looking at a map 
of Rangitikei County will see a straight line running from 
the Rangitikei River near Rata,* to a point close to where 
the Hunterville-Wanganui road crosses the Turakina, in 
a north-westerly direction, and the whole of the land south 
of that, with the exception of the reserves at Parewanui, 
Turakina, and a few elsewhere, comprised the area pur- 
chased. The land on the north of the Wangaehu had been 
previously purchased by the New Zealand Land Company 
as described in Wakefield's "Adventure in New Zealand," 
This purchase of Sir Donald McLean's bought the land 
up to the Turakina, leaving a narrow strip of land between 
the two rivers, Wangaehu and Turakina, about four miles 
wide, still in the hands of the Maoris. Sir Donald said, 
"The land between Wangaehu and Turakina was to be a 
tribal reserve for the Ngatiapa," or as he expressed it, 
"A coffin for the Ngatiapa," according to Mr. Donald 
Eraser, but Mr. John Stevens thinks the meaning of this 
was that it should be a burial place for the Ngatiapa 

*The map of the district accompanying this shows all the 
blocks of native lands, including the one in question. 


tribe. This is also mentioned in the Deed of Sale, which 
was as follows : — 

Lands Department. 

Extract from "Maori Deeds of Land Purchases in the 

North Island of N.Z." 

15th May, 1849, Rangitikei District. 


KNOW ALL MEN who see this Deed of land sale 

which is this day written, that is to say this fifteenth day 

of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 

and forty-nine, that we the Chiefs and people of 

Ngatiapa of Mangawhero and other places do finally and 

unreservedly consent on behalf of ourselves our relatives 

our children and our descendants after us to entirely hand 

over all these lands of ours the boundaries whereof are here 

described, and are delineated upon the plan of the survey, 

to Mr. McLean on behalf of the Governors of these Islands 

of New Zealand and also on behalf of all the Governors 

who may after them be appointed by the Queen of England 

to be a lasting possession for the Governors or the 

Europeans to whom it may be granted by the Governors. 

The Boundaries. 
The boundaries of the land which we now give up are 
these: — The River of Rangitikei on one side the sea on 
the other, on one of the other sides of the River Turakina 
thence towards the interior to where our inland boundary 
adjoins. The whole of the land between Turakina and 
Whangaehu rivers are reserved to be a gathering place for 
the men of Ngatiapa. The whole of our lands on the 
nortliem side of Whangaehu we permanently hand over 
to Mr. McLean. The commencement of the boundary is 
at the mouth of the Whangaehu River, thence following 
the course of that stream to Tapiripiri thence to Oeta 
thence proceeding to a place over against the boundary 
set aside for the Whanganui settlement thence along that 
boundary to Motukaraka thence to the sea. 


The Final Surrendering. 
Now we have met in Council have deliberated upon, 
bidden farewell to, taken leave of, and altogether given 
up the whole of the lands within these boundaries (which 
have just been recited by Mr. McLean who has conducted 
all the matters attending this meeting of us and the 
Europeans) together with all rivers and streams, trees and 
other productions of the said land to be a permanent 
possession for the Europeans for ever. 

Burial Grounds, etc. 
Now in consideration of our final surrender of all 
these lands of ours to Mr. McLean on behalf of all the 
Governors of this Island, Mr. McLean by virtue of the 
authority vested in him on that behalf by the Governor 
consents to reserve certain places for us the Maoris, viz. — 

I. First. Mr. McLean consents to our catching eels in 
the lakes which exist in localities which have not been 
(are not) drained by the Europeans, that is to say in those 
large lakes which we have been accustomed to catch eels in 

II. Second. That little piece of ground containing 12 
acres where Te Kawana Hakeke is buried in the sand is 
reserved for us, but the cattle of the Europeans may run 
upon it. 

III. Third. That piece of ground which was surveyed 
by Te Paka (Park) Surveyor, to which McLean and we 
ourselves consented to, viz., Parewanui, the boundary of 
that piece is at Upokotopia thence to Mangaroa thence to 
Te Makari coming out upon the Rangitikei River, this 
contains about One thousand six hundred acres (1600). 

IV. Fourth. The cultivations within the boundaries 
for the Europeans on the North side of the Rangitikei 
River, that is to say over against the Pa at Te Awahou will 
be continued to be cultivated by the Maoris in those locali- 
ties not settled by Europeans for the space of three years 
at the expiration of such term all such cultivation must 


be left for the sole use of the Europeans, the day fixed for 
leaving these cultivations is the 10th of March one 
thousand eight hundred and fifty-two (1852). 

V. Fifth. The Pa and cultivation at Turakina bounded 
on one side by the stream of Makirikiri and by the survey 
line of Barker ( fPark) on the other side, this contains 
about 900 nine hundred acres. 

VI. Sixth. That piece at Otukapo which was recom- 
mended by Te Watarauhia (teacher) to be kept as an eel 
fishing station containing fifty 50 acres. 

VII. Seventh. A small piece of ground at "Waratuna 
close by the Jcaraka (trees) of Aperahama also a small 
piece close by where Rihiona is to cultivate, these two 
places are to be occupied during the space of two years 
after which time they are to be left entirely for the 

These are all. Here end all the reserved places, there 
is no other place where we will establish ourselves upon 
these lands which have now finally gone to the Europeans. 
The great surveyed roads only through our reserved lands 
are consented to by us to be laid out at such time as the 
Governor shall think fit to order it to be done. These are 
roads for the Europeans as well as the Maoris. 

The Payments. 
The payments for the whole of these lands of ours, the 
boundaries of which have been read aloud by Mr. McLean 
who has also conducted all the matters relative thereto, are 
as follows, Two thousand five hundred pounds £2500, one 
thousand of this sum £1000 has this day that is to say this 
fifteenth day of May in the year one thousand eight 
hundred and fortynine 1849 has been paid to us. Five 
hundred pounds £500 are to be given to us on the fifteenth 
day of May one thousand eight hundred and fifty 1850. 
Five hundred pounds £500 are to be given to us on the 
fifteenth day of May one thousand eight hundred and 
fiLftyone 1851. The last payment of five hundred pounds 


£500 is to be made on the fifteenth 15th day of May one 
thousand eight hundred and fiftytwo 1852. 

That is all. This is the complete conclusion of the 
pajTnent for our lands. And in testimony of our final 
consent in the presence of this assembly to all the con- 
ditions of this Deed of sale which have just been recited 
and real aloud to us by Mr. McLean we have subscribed 
our names and marks. 

Also in testimony of the consent of Mr. McLean on 
behalf of the Governors of New Zealand to all the con- 
ditions of this Deed of sale of land Mr. McLean has also 
subscribed his name. 

Donald McLean. 
For the names of the sellers and their signatures see 

Wanganui, 16th May, 1849. 
Mr. McLean has this day handed to us the chiefs of 
the Ngatiapa whose names are written below to this paper 
on behalf of ourselves, our people and all others who may 
be concerned or have an interest in the sale of this land, 
The sum of One thousand pounds in one hundred pound 
bags containing the said money. 

This is the first payment or instalment for our land 
the boundaries of which are written in the deed of sale 
which has been read and explained to us by Mr. McLean 
and to which we have written our names and marks. 
APERHAMA TIPAE x his mark 
REIHANA X his mark 
Witnesses to the signatures and 
marks of the above chiefs — 
Alex. Campbell. 
No. 212. Received for Registration at 1 o'clock p.m. 
13th June, 1850. 
(L.S.) Robert R. Strang, 

Registrar of Deeds. 


A true copy of Original Deed, Translation, receipt and 

H. Hanson Tuenee, 

6th December, 1875. 

It is extremely difficult to get at the amount paid to 
each one who signed the deed. At first it was intended 
that each person of the 197 people who signed should dis- 
tribute this amount amongst their hapus or dependants, 
but this procedure seems to have been departed from, 
possibly, because some claimed more than the fixed amount, 
and possibly because even after paying £10 to each there 
would still be a considerable balance. Eventually, Ratana 
told me the money was made up into three bags, one each 
for Wangaehu, Turakina and Rangitikei, and the chiefs 
divided it as they thought fit. The receipt for the first 
instalment of the purchase money was made in Wanganui 
on the 16th May, 1849. The second instalment was paid 
over in Mr. McDonell's house, Inverhoe, in 1850. 



If we pause, and think for a moment, it is astounding 
what a change had come over these savage people in a few 
short years. Mr. T. W. Downes has collected some interest- 
ing particulars of this Ngatiapa tribe, who thus sold their 
land to the Government. In his "Early History of Rangi- 
tikei and Notes on the Ngatiapa Tribes" he describes all 
the traditions and fights they seem to have had with their 
neighbours, the Rangitanes, Muaupokos, Ngatikahungunus, 
Whanganuis, and the various disputes occasioned by theft, 
murder or abduction. These disputes generally ended by 
the killing of one or two men and sometimes women. 
They could not be classed as battles, being really skir- 
mishes. With the advent of Te Rauparaha, only about 
twenty years before the date of this sale, when savage 
scenes and cannibalism were rampant, the invaders went 
about killing and eating their enemies as far as Turakina, 
and all over the land between that river and Otaki, A 
few years before, in 1844, some of these men who took 
part in the killing of the Europeans at the Hutt, were 
doubtless present at the sale at Parewanui. Notwith- 
standing all these discordant elements, the meeting seems 
to have gone on without any fracas of any kind, and a 
conciliatory spirit seems to have prevailed, except for the 
fiery Rangihaeata. This may have been caused by the 
spread of Christianity, as a Maori in describing it to 
Mr. Downes remarked, **And now after all this fighting 
and feasting, there came yet another army, few in number 
but mighty in power, armed not with guns, but books, 
and soon the last fight was fought, the last banquet 
finished, our captives were liberated and returned to their 


homes at Parewanui and Rangitikei, and we also sent 
those home whom we captured." 

Hamuera was the first clergyman at Parewanui. The 
selection may have been made because of his gentle dis- 
position, and because he apparently had some smattering 
of education. There is evidence of this, as he is one of 
the few who signed the deed of sale instead of aflSxing 
his mark. He was also selected to sign the Treaty of 
Waitangi in 1840, and was always spoken of as one who 
by birth was entitled to a much higher position than 
was assigned to him by his fellows. The Maori chief, 
however, to retain his position, must have either great 
physical power, so as to over awe the people, but most of 
all show great fighting power against their enemies, for 
with the Maori the worship of success is very evident. 
fHamuera had as second wife a Muaupoko woman, who 
always went by the name of Mrs. Sam amongst the pakeJius, 
and was the very antithesis of her husband. Her speeches, 
antics and gesticulations were of the most entertaining 
and amusing character, and she was irrepressible. Sam, 
during all the scenes she created, used to look on with the 
"more in sorrow than in anger" countenance, but knew 
better than to interfere. I remember a most amusing 
instance of the dramatic power she possessed. The occasion 
was when she was brought up before Mr. Ward, the R.M. 
of the time, for the trespass of her pigs. They had got into 
a neighbour's garden, and done a good deal of damage. 
The case was called on, and the neighbour giving his 
evidence was interrupted by Mrs. Sam's "Ugh" every 
now and then, and some hasty comments. When the 
magistrate called on her for an explanation, she rose from 
her seat. The Court House behind the bar had seats all 
round, for the public, which were crowded by spectators 
of both races. The space in the body of the hall was very 
small, but Mrs. Sam took possession of it. She had an 
umbrella in her hand, and with her eyes almost bursting 
out of her head, she commenced the most violent tirade I 


have ever listened to. The pacific magistrate, safe on the 
bench, tried to calm her. "Now, my good woman, that 
is enough, be reasonable," but it had no effect. The 
torrent of words continued, and the umbrella lent force 
to her arguments, although what they were no one seemed 
to know, even if she herself did, but the whole audience 
was convulsed. "When at last exhausted by her '*tour de 
force," with a final "Ugh," she pushed her tongue out at 
the magistrate, and turning round to the spectators, 
grinned with glee, as much as to say "Didn't I do it well." 

The scene at the time when a Maori horse, Rangipuhi, 
won the Rangitikei Cup, when she danced a haka, was in 
her best style, and is often talked of to this day. 

Both Sam and she have gone to join the great majority, 
but the recollection of her antics makes one smile even 
now. She really was a gentle nice woman, and a great 
favourite with all. 

The district of Rangitikei at the time of the sale was, 
of course, very different to what it has become. The river, 
whether it was because of the bush in its headwater was 
still untouched, and the same quantity of water took longer 
to come down than it does now, or not, I cannot say, but 
it does not seem to have been so wild in those days as we 
know it, for the Rangitikei in an " old man ' ' flood is about 
as fierce a torrent as one could wish to cope with. The 
banks described by all those who saw them seemed to have 
been intact, the trees and shrubs growing right to the 
waters' edge. The kowhai, in spring, glistening in the 
sun on the thousand and one flats on either side, and the 
mjTiads of tuis sent forth their joyful song, the stream of 
water sinuous, but confined in a narrow channel, and not 
the waste of river bed we see it now, much as it looks now 
away up above Mangaweka, although, of course, there 
were no cliffs. Every one of the river flats seem to have 
had pas, although most of these had beautiful groves of 
karaka trees, some of which remain to this day. Even by 
the date we write of, 1849, there was perceptibly fewer 


of them than there had been. There are evidences that the 
whole of the bank of the river had been tenanted at 
various times, and every flat had its own name and history. 
Yet e\'en in these times the river could be angry. Old 
Hare Rewiti, who lived at Ohinepuiawe in recent times, 
described to me a flood, as far as I could locate about 1855, 
He was just married and had gone up for some reason 
inland to Taupo — probably about his land — and his wife 
remained at the pa. The flood came down suddenly and 
covered the whole of the Ohinepuiawe flat, so that Rakapa, 
his wife, had to get the canoe and paddle herself and her 
belongings to the cliff at Ohaekaraia — ^where the creek 
comes down behind Hikungarara — and so gain dry land 
again. There is a flat just opposite what was known as the 
Lower Holm on my property just under a cliff called Pua 
Kohonga. It stretches away up as far as Mingaroa. Hare 
told me this flat was a magnificent totara bush, with very- 
large trees, where they used to get timber for their large 
canoes. During this flood the whole of this bush was 
washed away, and nothing but shingle left. It is now a 
waste of about fifty acres of river bed, gradually being 
covered by toe-toe grass and weeds of all kinds, especially 
docks. Perhaps, if we wait long enough, it wiU be all 
grassed over. In Mr. J. C. Crawford's book he describes, 
"At a place called Epiki a great slip came down and 
stopped the river for two days, forming a great lake, 
which, when it broke away, must have caused a great 
rush. ' ' This occurred in 1855, and the slip was caused by 
the earthquake of that year, and thus it was probably the 
reason for this fine bush being washed away. 

Many of the signatories to the Deed of Sale were 
familiar to later day residents, but they had become 
pakehas in dress and style of living. Hunia was the son 
of a noted chief, Te Hakeke, who figured largely in the 
annals of the Ngatiapa. Hekeke seems to have been a 
man of great strength, as the following story told by Mr. 
Downes will show. When hurrying to Turakina to gather 


all the available braves of his tribe to meet the Rangitane 
and Ngatikuhungunus, who were on the war path against 
the Ngatiapas, he fell in with a taiia from Wanganui, 
travelling by canoe to Kapiti, but who had landed on 
account of bad weather. They caught him and carried 
him on to one of their canoes, where they held him down, 
endeavouring to kill him by cutting his throat with a 
shark's tooth knife, but he strove with his great strength, 
made a gigantic effort, threw them aside as little children, 
and so broke clean away from them, then when at some 
little distance he called back to his pursuers, "I am 
Hakeke, the great Hakeke, you cannot capture me," They 
could not, though they tried. 

The same man made the last effort to overthrow Te 
Rauparaha 's power, and though he failed, he showed great 
bravery. His son, Kawana Hunia, had all the vigour and 
perhaps more assertion than his father. Though he was a 
small man, he assumed the position of head chief in all the 
transactions with the pakeha, and, saving his boastfulness, 
seems to have been a good friend to the settlers. 
Turangapito, though really a Muaupoko, seems to have 
been a man of some note, and at Turakina, Aperahama 
Tipae, in those days a young man, was the principal chief. 
It is somewhat difficult at this distance of time to place 
these men. 

The country must have been a beautiful one with 
clearings surrounded by bush, where the bell-bird and the 
tui kept up a constant rivalry of song; where pigeons 
were as plentiful as sparrows are now, and from where, in 
the evening, the weka sent forth its warning cry, whilst the 
streams, lakes and lagoons gave the patient fisher eels and 
Upokororo in plenty, and a visit to the sea or the mouth 
of the river generally resulted in plenty of kawai and 
shark. In winter time the frost-fish served as a delicacy, 
and in the season, great quantity of duck were to be found 
in aU the numerous lakes on both sides of the river. Pro- 
bably, the Maoris had already grown a little wheat, for 


the missionaries had provided seed, and no doubt potatoes 
were also grown, but there were plenty of kumaras. The 
whole of the country between the Rangitikei and the Oroua 
must have been covered with fern, and in times of scarcity, 
provided food in plenty, which only required gathering 
and preparing. Such was the country and such the people, 
amongst whom the settlers were to establish their homes 
when they arrived, which would be soon. 



Mr. Ormond, in his description of the sale, says that 
the only white man living in the district was Mr. Scott, 
who kept an accommodation house at the mouth of the 
river. There were, however, several people settled at 
Manawatu, for the Government had already bought a 
block of land there from the natives, called the Awahou 
block. Captain Robinson had been settled there some 
time, and also Mr. T. U. Cook, and Messrs. Kebbell Bros, 
had a saw mill up the river. There had been a few of the 
whalers settled amongst the Maoris, probably having 
followed their Maori wives to their own people. The 
whole of the stock seems to have been brought from 
Sydney, and there was a regular trade in sheep, cattle, 
and horses, which all found a ready sale when they landed. 
A Company was started, on the Sydney side, to go into 
this trade, and James McDonell was sent over with the 
several shipments, and eventually remained in New 
Zealand to sell the stock on arrival. He also had to take 
the stock up the Coast to various settlers, and thus he 
became acquainted with the country and natives, and 
as far as I can gather he must have been the first settler, 
for he seems to have decided to settle in the district — no 
doubt by arrangement with the natives — before the land 
was sold, and had pitched upon the site of his selection 
at the Hou, below Parewanui, where his family reside to 
this day, and his widow (Mrs. McDonell) remains close 
to the old homestead. He does not, however, seem to have 
been present at the sale, but must have purchased the land 
as soon as the land was available, probably he was one of 
the first purchasers. Like all the flats on the Rangitikei 


river, it must have been a beautiful spot. Mrs. McDonell 
says that when she came up it was called "the Garden 
of Rangitikei," covered with native bush and beautiful 
karaka groves, where now there is nothing but tussocks 
and toe. 

With the help of the natives Mr. McDonell built a very 
comfortable whare, warm and rain-proof, and then went 
to Wellington again to be married. Meanwhile "Tom 
Scott, " as he was familiarly called, was also a well-known 
man on the Coast. He had been living at Waikanae for 
some time (where Wiremu Kingi — the instigator of the 
Taranaki war — lived and was a great friend of his 
family). The reason for his living there was that he had 
joined the Militia, as all had to do in those days, and was 
one of the troop of fifty picked men, who were stationed 
at Waikanae as a sort of buffer against the Maori tribes 
up the Coast. The Wairau massacre occurred in 1843. 
The natives became more aggressive, and as we have seen 
attacked the settlers in the Hutt Valley on March 3rd, 
1846, and later, on May 16th, attacked a military outpost 
there. Te Rauparaha was captured on 23rd July, 1846, 
and after some desultory fights, the natives began to leave 
for their original homes (as we have mentioned) in 
Taranaki and elsewhere, and the refractory natives who 
remained on the Coast retired to Poroutawhao. This 
outpost of militia was then sent on to Waikanae, under 
Major Durie, who afterwards became resident Magistrate 
in Wanganui, and a well-known man on the Coast. He 
had been in the Spanish army, and like many other adven- 
turous Englishmen, including William Locke Travers 
(who was so well known in Wellington as the author of 
"The Life of Te Rauparaha") and Major Baker, who 
took up land in Rangitikei afterwards. At the time of 
Scott's death, in January, 1892, the "Marton Mercury" 
made the following references to his career : — "He married 
and came to the Colony with his wife in 1837. Being a 
man of wonderful physique and courage, he was selected 



by Sir George Grey to carry dispatches, and the overland 
mails from Port Nicholson (Poneke) to Taranaki in the 
forties, an undertaking of great danger from two causes, 
viz., the hostility of some of the Maoris, and the fact that 
he could not swim. As there were no horses, or but few 
indeed in the Colony at that period of its history, the 
service had to be performed on foot, and this he did in the 
most efficient manner. Nothing stopped him on his long 
and lonely journeys. At the same time he traded with 
some of the friendly Maories, which necessitated the 
carrying of from 751bs. to lOOlbs. weight upon his back. 
When crossing many of the rivers he was unable to obtain 
a canoe, and was therefore compelled to construct a moki 
(raft) made of dried flax sticks tied in a bundle and 
fastened across his chest. In this manner he, with the 
mail bags and his goods and blankets fastened on the top 
of his shoulders, used to cross the largest rivers on the 
Coast. When the war of Te Rangihaeata began Mr. Scott 
served in the militia and armed police (he was amongst 
those who were at the taking of Te Rauparaha) under 
the late Major Durie, and distinguished himself by 
rushing at the head of some of his comrades into the pa, 
and personally seizing the arch-rebel, Te Taringa Kuri 
(The Dog's Ear, previously mentioned) and taking him 
prisoner. After the war was ended Mr. Scott, with his 
wife and a young family, came and settled at the mouth 
of the Rangitikei river, took charge of the ferry, and 
acted as pilot to the small craft which used to trade from 
Port Nicholson to Rangitikei. When the early settlers 
arrived he established a store, and did a large trade 
with the Maoris in wheat, Indian com, pigs, and 
muka (native dressed flax). His knowledge of the Maori 
language was very limited, but his method of settling 
disputes was nevertheless very effectual. When a dispute 
arose between himself and a Maori he made every reason- 
able concession in order to settle the question, but if his 
kindness and consideration were rejected he promptly 


knocked his adversary down with the edge of a hoe 
(paddle) or the end of a canoe pole, and the Maoris, 
therefore, held him in high esteem, in fact **E'Kote" (Mr. 
Scott) and the Governor of the Colony were, in the eyes 
of the Maoris on this Coast, two of the greatest rangatiras. 
They gave him the name of the greatest chief of the 
Ngatiapa tribe, viz., " Taurangapiti. ' ** 

I think the date of his arrival cannot be correctly given 
above, as Mr. James Bull told me that Mr. and Mrs. Scott 
came out to New Zealand with Dr. Featherston. Mrs. 
Menzies says her father (Dr. Featherston) came out in 
the "Olympus" in 1842, and that the Higgies and Scotts 
came with them. So I think that must have been the date 
of their landing in Wellington. This is quite likely 
because the Doctor came from Edinburgh, and the Scotts 
from Coupar Fife, across the Firth. Mrs. Scott's maiden 
name was Annie Wilson, and John Scott, who lived in 
Bulls for many years, was born at sea before they arrived. 

However, it is certain that Mr. Scott took the mails up 
the Coast, for it is recorded in the Post Office records that 
he first began carrying the mails (though he no doubt 
carried dispatches for some time before) in 1848. "The 
mail left Wellington weekly on the Monday for Otaki, 

*Scott had a ready tongue and was not particular as to his 
language. One day a passenger came along to be put over the 
ferry, and was told to "sit forrard" to trim the canoe. Not 
believing this language could be meant for him he did not move. 
"Sit forrard, man," Scott bawled. Astonished at the peremptory 
tone the passenger asked, "Are you talking to me? Do you know 
who I am? I am Captain Fortescue!" Scott replied, "Captain 
Fortyscue or fifty-scue or any other damned *scue, ' sit forrard, for 
I 'm captain o ' this canoe. ' ' Another time Adam Keir had unwisely 
ventured too near the river bank with his horse and dray, and 
they had all toppled over into the water. The man got a sousing, 
but the horse was drowned, and the cart at the bottom of the river. 
He called in Scott to help him in his canoe; Keir, being a man of 
the same nationality, thought he knew better than most people 
how to do things, and he thought Scott was not doing well and lost 
patience. "Scott," he said, "you've got no 'held' to get a cart 
out of the water." Scott looked at him for a second under his 
shaggy eyebrows, and said, "Man, Keir, ye've got a fine held to 
get a 'cayrt' into the water." 


Manawatu, Rangitikei, Turakina, Wanganui, and New 
Plymouth. The time-table does not say when the return 
mail was dispatched. Probably this was a matter of some 
doubt, considering the state of the rivers and other 
obstacles. It is impossible to believe that he could do it 
in a week, for he must have had many difficulties to 
contend with. The distance round the beach is about 216 
miles, and he must have gone inland to take the mails to 
the settlements, as Mr. Fraser says he ** travelled from 
Wellington to Taranaki with the mail once a month — a 
fortnight to go, and a fortnight coming back — and was 
paid £1 a week. ' ' This seems likely to have been the ease. 

As Mr. and Mrs. McDonell were married on the 18th 
December, 1849, and came straight up to Rangitikei and 
arrived before Christmas of that year, Mr, and Mrs. Scott 
would most likely be here about the beginning of 
November, 1849, and she was, as far as I can gather, the 
first white woman to set foot on Rangitikei soil. Everyone 
worked in those days, they did not come to New Zealand 
to play, but they knew in coming here that if they were 
grown up they must find work to keep their parents. The 
married women must have had a very hard time of it, in 
some cases rarely seeing any members of their own sex 
for months together. But time did not hang heavily with 
them. They had no time to sit down and wring their 
hands and wish themselves back in the Old Country. They 
had their children to attend to, their meals to cook, and 
often the most laborious thing they had to do was to grind 
the wheat into coarse flour, when the boat did not come in 
for a while with a supply. From morning till night they 
were hard at work, and although there were no daily 
papers to read, they never missed them, for they had no 
time to spare for reading. The visitors, like the Maoris, 
provided the news. No doubt a mailman was heartily 
welcomed as much for the news of the outside world as 
for the letters he brought. 

Mrs. Scott, when she reached the Rangitikei river, must 


have brought with her several children. Whether she 
rode or came by boat I have not ascertained. There were 
a considerable number of horses about at this time. Mr. 
Sidey, who died only the other day, used to bring a great 
many from New South Wales, and it was with him that 
Mr. McDonell came from Sydney with stock. The Maoris 
were very up-to-date then for they joined in syndicates 
to buy a horse — for preference a mare. If three of them 
joined together the owner of the mare really came off 
worst, for he who got first pick got the first foal as his 
share, the second pick the second foal, and so on, till the 
members of the syndicate were exhausted, and then the 
mare belonged to the head of the syndicate. 

The best horses, Mr. Fraser says, were those down at 
Poroutawhao. Here an old salt had settled, who, in his 
young days, had been in a training stable, and the Maoris 
used to send him down to Wellington to select the horses. 
But there did not seem any great difficulty in getting 
horses, and Mr. and Mrs McDonell started on their honey- 
moon to ride up the Coast, and took four days to get up 
to the Hou, where the whare was all ready for them. The 
name of the place was really "Inverhoe," after some 
place near where the McDonells came from in Glengarry 
in Invernesshire. In those days the whare was always the 
first habitation, which the Maoris were great adepts at 
building. They had been well trained and could build as 
comfortable a habitation as could be wished for with 
saplings tied together, the walls and roof being of toe-toe 
seed stalks, which lasted a long time, and were perfectly 
wind and water proof. The Maori of the present day does 
not care for the whare, he likes a house all the same as the 
pakeha. I once saw a Maori build a house, and the walls 
were rusticated boarding, but he put them upside down, 
and as a consequence, the first rain that came the water 
ran down the walls, and at each join it poured into the 
inside of the house instead of down to the ground. So all 
the boards had to be taken off and reversed. Maoris made 


no such mistake when building a whare, and I well 
remember when I came to Rangitikei that my neighbour, 
John Lees, lived in a most comfortable whare about 20 feet 
long and 12 feet wide, with a big open fireplace at the one 
end, and the bunks partitioned off in cubicle fashion at 
the other end. The bunks were certainly unique to me, 
but John said they were very comfortable. Two totara 
saplings formed the sides, and between these were endless 
strips of flax twined from one pole to another, and these 
had been up for years and showed no sign of wear. When 
the new house was built about 1876 the bunks were still 
intact, and must have been at least fourteen years old. 

Furniture had to be made as best it could, and there 
were no Chesterfield sofas to recline on. John Lees' arm- 
cnair had been fashioned by himself and stuffed with 
muka, and lined with sacking, and were quite comfortable. 
So, no doubt, much of the furniture in the previous decade 
was made. 

The first clergyman who came to Rangitikei was the 
Rev. Mr. Duncan. He must have come up to Foxton about 
the late forties, for Mrs. McDonell told me that as soon 
as a few settlers came about, Mr. Duncan used to come up 
to Parewanui once a month and preached under the karaka 
trees. Probably, also, the Rev. Mr. Taylor came out from 
Wanganui afterwards, as he was settled there very early, 
and Mr. Bull speaks of him as "preaching in a Cathedral 
not made with hands" under the trees at Parewanui. Mr. 
Bull was much impressed with the solemnity of these 
occasions, and said he always had, when he attended these 
services, the same reverent feeling that is common to all 
when they enter a beautiful cathedral and wander 
amongst the tombs of the mighty. 

No doubt in the earliest times it was often an anxious 
time for the mistress of the household to know where the 
food was to come from. There were, of course, a few 
cattle, but too valuable to kill, and soon there were sheep, 
also too valuable for food purposes. The useful pig could. 


however, be procured from the Maoris, and the bush was 
teeming with pigeons, and the lakes with duck, and these 
helped the larder in a great measure, and were a great 
source of supply. Even when I came in 1874 pigeons came 
down in thousands when the cabbage tree fruit was ripe. 
Now it is a "rara avis." 

"Whilst still on the McDonells, it would be as well to 
give an account of the members of that family, for Mrs. 
McDonell, sen., also came, and her whole family with her, 
and many other settled in the district. The old lady died 
about 1856. James, or "Big Mac," as he was called, was 
the eldest son, and had "Inverhoe" as has been stated. 
Alex, afterwards had the land which is now occupied by 
Mr. Tom Cameron, his nephew. Aeneas went back again 
to Australia. Cumberland died a few years ago. He 
kept the hotel first when Mr. Bull built it at Bulls. Mrs. 
Cumberland McDonell was a daughter of big John 
Cameron, of Turakina, and was renowned as a rider. Mr. 
LifiBton, of Wanganui, when a lad, ran away from home 
and went to Killeymoon to help with the cattle, and he 
was talking a few years ago, telling of the exploits of the 
time at a friend's house, and how there was a Maisie 
Cameron there then, who used to go out with them 
mustering cattle, and could ride anything, and he said, 
"I wonder where Maisie Cameron is now?" A lady who 
had been present all the time said, "I am Maisie 
Cameron," and this was Mrs. Cumberland McDonell. Her 
father, "Big John," was the father also of Charlie 
Cameron, who was so well known in the Turakina- 
Wanganui district till a few years ago, when he died con- 
siderably over eighty years old. When "Willie" Watt 
was first standing for the Provincial Council he persuaded 
"Big John" to take the chair at a meeting when he came 
to address the electors at Turakina, and "Big John" did 
not know what to say or what to do ; but when he saw the 
people sitting in front of him, and Mr. Watt urged him to 
say something by way of introduction, he stood up and 


surveyed the few dozen upturned faces in front with rather 
a contemptuous air. Raising his hand he said, ''When I 
think of Lochiel" : again he swept his eye around the room, 
and with a wave of his arm, meaning they were all 
included, "al' traa-ssh." I wonder what he would have 
thought of those Highlanders who had an opportunity of 
electing "Lochiel" to Parliament, and he only ran a bad 

There were still other females of the McDonell family, 
and they married. Alick Cameron (another of the Tura- 
kina families, but I must confess, though I have fathomed 
the Fraser and Mackenzie family, or nearly so, I gave the 
Camerons of Turakina up as a bad job. There were four 
families of the same name settled there.) Another 
daughter is Mrs. Keith (both the latter are alive and in the 
neighbourhood) . 

I have been much struck when collecting these stray 
notes by the fact that so often people seem to have been 
indebted to Mrs. McDonell for hospitality. She must 
rarely have been without visitors. When I mentioned this 
to her she said, ' ' Yes, they were always welcome to what I 
could give them, but my husband knew the countrj' so 
well that they all came to ask him about it. People didn't 
expect so much in those days as they do now." Dr. 
Featherston was a great friend who always stayed with 
her, and declared he liked her old whare much better than 
her new weather-board house, which soon came to be built 
with timber from the Kebbell's mill at the Kari Kari, on 
the Manawatu. The timber was brought down the river 
in canoes and carted along the beach to Rangitikei. 

The Scotts were not so numerous. John Scott, the 
eldest son, who died quite recently, had a fund of informa- 
tion about the old days. He married Miss Farmer, and 
has a family scattered over the Dominion. Thomas is, 
I think, unmarried, and lives somewhere in the Wanganui 
district. David, the best known perhaps of them all. 
married Miss Higgie, and they have a family mostly 


settled in the district. "Davie" Scott, as he was called, 
had a great many excellent horses, and in the earlier days 
won many races. 

One of the Miss Scotts married Mr. James Bull, but 
died many years ago, and another married Mr. Alick 
Higgie. I only once had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Scott 
Senior, but no one who has come within her "ken" could 
help being attracted by her. Her kindly manner and 
homely Scotch ways reminded one of one's birthplace. 
It was in 1873 when I first came up the coast, and we had 
stayed the night at Foxton. We arrived about nine o'clock 
at night, having started from Wellington at an unearthly 
hour in the morning. Foxton was a dreadfully uncomfort- 
able place in those days — ^there seemed to be no quiet to 
be found, and when roused up again before dawn, and 
rattled over those sandhills back again to the sea coast over 
Captain Robinson's run, without a bite to eat, one felt 
very miserable ; but Mrs. Scott 's was a haven of rest. Here 
we had breakfast. A spotlessly clean tablecloth, a heaped 
up plate of fresh scones, and fresh fish caught that 
morning, was a dish fit for a king's breakfast, and the 
savoriness of the fish remained vividly in my memory. 
They kept an accommodation house until the coaches 
ceased running. One day a great event happened. Lord 
Robert Cecil came down the coast. Lord Robert afterwards 
became Lord Salisbury, on the unexpected death of his 
brother, and was the greatest man of his day, and Prime 
Minister for many years. I often wondered if he 
remembered that trip, and I am sure if he did he would 
have a pleasant recollection of Mrs. Scott. 

I have notes from Mr. Fraser that Captain Daniel 
came up about 1850, and took up his block of land, which 
was known as Killeymoon. I have not much information 
about the old gentleman. He seems to have been in the 
army, and probably of Cornish descent. He was said by 
those who knew him to be a bit of a martinet ' ' as straight 
as a rush." Captain Daniel really lived at Trelisic, near 


Wellington, which is now called Ngaio, I believe. His 
family sold most of the land there. He must have come 
out in the middle forties and had bought 1,000 acres from 
the New Zealand Land Company in London for £1,000, in 
1839, but, like many others, could not get the land when 
he came. 

I remember John Cameron of Marangai (a fine old 
Highlander of the best type) saying that he had bought 
his land in London, and when he came to settle there was 
no land. When 250,000 acres at Wanganui were bought 
(for £1,000) he determined to be on the spot, and took 
a job with the surveyors, so that he could find out about 
the land. '^ 

Captain Daniel was not so fortunate, but Sir George 
Grey decided that those who didn't get their land for ten 
years, should get 250 acres for every 100 acres they had 
bought, and thus Captain Daniel got 2,500 acres, and had 
first selection. He seems to have made a very good one, 
for the land he took up is now some of the best farming 
land in the district. It ran from what is now known as the 
Quarantine Road at the Catholic Chapel, Bulls, from the 
river at Mr. Flowers' mill to the Tutaenui, up that stream 
to the Manuka Bush, as it was called, where Dr. Curl 
lived so long, and then down to the river, and included 
some beautiful river flats, which the Hammonds, who 
bought the property later, called the "Lower Holm." 
The Captain did not come up except to make the selection, 
but remained in Wellington and sent a manager called 
Verge to manage it. The latter had been in charge of a 
station in New South Wales before, and was a very good 
stockman. The whare which was built for him was of the 
usual bark and ioe-toe character, but it was much more 
extensive than most, and consisted of four rooms 
and a kitchen, and many visitors to the district passed 
a night there on their way up the Coast. Sir John 
Hall once told me he spent a night there, and next 
morning strolled out to look over the cliff, which was 


only a stone 's throw away, and there was the river rolling 
peacefully below and the beautiful flat covered with bush 
on the other side. The river is now a mile away, and 
where a boy was drowned later, is now under cultivation 
by the Maoris, and a house standing about the spot. 

Captain Daniel's family consisted of Edward, Laurie, 
and Allen, and Miss Daniel, who married Major Deane. 
Edward did not come to the Colony till 1853, and 
quarrelled with his father, who would have nothing more 
to do with him. When he was sent away he went to live 
with Baighton, who was a stockman at the Hoe, and the 
settlers subscribed enough to send him to Sydney, where 
he joined the Bank. He married, and after his father's 
death returned to New Zealand, when Allan, his youngest 
brother, who got most of the property, gave him the 
Grange, near Wanganui, but he did not keep it long. 
His son, Mr. Percy Daniel, is the only male descendant 
of the Captain alive, Laurie stayed mostly at Killey- 
moon, and assisted in the management of the cattle, for 
the farm was mostly stocked with cattle and horses, till 
he married, and a house was built for him, which is now 
the property of Mr. John Stevens, Bulls.* He was a great 
favourite with his companions, and Laurie Daniel was 
quoted often to me when I came. I only saw him once, 
a tall handsome man. "When I came up the Coast first he 
was at Scott's, going down to Wellington with old John 
Walker. He died, leaving no children, and left a widow 
who later married Mr. John BuUer, his nephew eventually 
coming into his property. Allen married Miss Imlay, and 
there were two daughters, one of whom met with a sad 
death in that terrible disaster near St. Malo, on the coast 
of France, when a steamer went down and many hundred 
lives were lost. 

•This house was unfortunately burnt since above was written, 
and Mr. Stevens lost a great deal of valuable property. He took it, 
however, with characteristic philosophy, and said it couldn't be 


As nearly all the traffic with the district north of Bulls 
— there was no such township then — started at Scott's, 
for all the Coast traffic came inland there — except that 
going on to Wanganui — whether riding or stock (there 
were, of course, no traps in those days, though shortly 
bullock waggons or sledges became common) the road 
had to be found. There was a fairly well-defined Maori 
track from Scott's to Parewanui through the toe-toe bushes, 
and crossing somewhere near Mr. L, McKelvie's present 
house. It has been described to me by several people, 
but perhaps Mr. John Stevens is the most exact. It is 
well to premise, however, that naturally the settlers, as 
they did in all cases in New Zealand, occupied the open 
land first, and preferably near the river as a means of 
watering their stock. The first bush was the round bush 
near where Mr. Burne lived, then there was the Para- 
wanui bush (Tawaroa), and a strip of light bush running 
up from opposite in a northerly direction from where the 
Tutaenui stream joined the Rangitikei, a little above the 
Raumai gate, right up along the side of the sand hills till 
the low part of the road about opposite Femwood is 

There was then another piece of bush between the 
Tutaenui and the cliff overlooking the Rangitikei river, 
covering a considerable area, a little above the bridge over 
the Tutaenui, on the lower Rangitikei road, to where the 
sheepyards are in Bulls, and up nearly to Mr. Stevens's 
house on the hill. Even when I came there was bush 
between my house and the English Church, and right 
away back again to the Tutaenui, Mr, Stevens's house 
being in a bight, and trees coming nearly up to the bridge 
over the Tutaenui again on the Wanganui road. The 
latter bush presented some difficulty to the settlers to get 
through, so they went round it. To give Mr. Stevens's 
own account would be best. 

"We started in a bullock sledge from Scott's and 
drove up through the toe-toes, through the 'Longwater,' 


a stretch of swamp and water originally the river, and 
which extended to Awamate Lake, ('dead river,' where 
the Ngatiapas had a strong fighting pa on an island) 
nearer the coast than the present road, turned towards 
the river, and came out through tutu, koromiko, karamu 
and fern (but mostly tutu) into the water just in front 
of Mr. Lynn McKelvie 's present house, then past Inverhoe 
on the river side of the road, where it was all natural 
grass in the clearings of the bush, which consisted of 
kowhai, hohi, koromiko and ngaio; then through another 
old river bed nearby which (though later) Mr. Wheeler 
lived. The country was all flax stalks (Korari) in full 
flower; thousands of tui, and makomako sucking flowers. 
It was more like fairy land than any description I can 
give; then along the sand hills and through flats, the 
sledge going over old flax bushes and tois like a ship at 
sea; then the track turned almost due west to get round 
a swamp, and came out in front of the present Waitatapia 
House; then over some sandhills, and so on to Parewanui 
flat, straight to Pukehou, the road through the pa was not 
made for a long time. There were two roads north from 
this, one the high road and the other the low road. The 
first led eventually to Turakina and the second to Major 
Marshall's. The low road went down past the black- 
smith's shop, through what was called the *duhb' (Gaelic 
for muddy hole or duck pond) to the mouth of the 
Tutaenui, which then joined the Rangitikei about where 
the gum trees are, opposite the Raumai gate (and where 
Mr. Winks lived). The track here turned to the left up 
past Puke-Rewa at the end of the long bush over a sand- 
hill, and into what was afterwards called the Lake 
Paddock, round the side of the Lake and so on over some 
sandhills (afterwards levelled down) and down on to the 
present road, and through what was afterwards called 
Fern wood; then down on to the Tutaenui again, 
through the gate opposite Femwood entrance, across 
the stream; up through Baker's flat (this is 


now Mr. Paulin's) below the cliff on which the 
road runs; back again and across the Tutaenui 
and up the track near where the Fergussons lived origin- 
ally, across what is now Brandon Hall, somewhere near 
where the old track ran out past Trickers, through what 
was known as Hitchings' clearing, then through the bush, 
where there were tracks cut past the window of my 
present house; and so on round the bush to Bulls, past 
where Miss Dalziel now lives, and up the terrace past 
Colonel Gorton's, and up past Ted Reid's and away along 
past the brothers, over what was called the Bay of Biscay 
(it was so rough), and then on to Turakina. 

**The other road went past Daniel's whare (near the 
present pound) below the Terrace on the Racecourse up 
to the Tutaenui, and across at Curl's, then over the hill 
till it reached the present Woodendean gate (now called 
Rawhitiroa, where Mr. Levin lives), and on to the 
Motuweka bush on York Farm; thence it went across the 
Porewa down a steep place nearer Marton than where 
the bridge is now, up a point and across the flat in front 
of Mr. R. Marshall's house, and down into the Porewa, 
and then up to Tututotara at the present gate. ' ' 

Those who can follow this description* from their 
knowledge of the country will see that the track was a 
very tortuous one, for the very sufficient reason that the 
present road, which is comparatively straight, crossed 
boggy creeks, swamps, bush, sandhills and other obstruc- 
tions. The track had to go round the bush, find a good 
crossing through swamps, and a sound place in some of 
the creeks, and over reasonable places in the sandhills, 
some of which had to be cut down, and Mr. Fraser says 
he did this with the help of Maoris, who were then very 
content to receive 1/- a day. The cutting is to be seen to 
this day, but after the big earthquake the sandhill fell 
into the river at the point and left a track round, which 

•See Swainson's map accompanying this volume. 


was made into the road where it is now running between 
a sandhill and the cliff, which is fenced. 

It will thus be seen that moving about in those days 
was a difficult job, and where a motor car will run you 
over the whole district in an hour or two, it was half a 
day's journey from Bulls to Tututotara, even on horse- 
back, the track twisting and turning, passing and 
repassing the position of the present road. 



I have given a description of the road (although Mr. 
Stevens did not come for some time after the first settlers, 
as will be seen later) because it was along this track that 
the first sheep were driven, which came up about 1850, 
and were owned by a Mr. Skipwith, who had a Maori 
wife at Otaki — a daughter of Whatanui — and whose son, 
Kipa te Whatanui, still lives at Otaki, 

The sheep must have been driven all along the coast, 
and were ferried across the rivers in canoes. Mr. Eraser 
thus describes the way they were packed. They tied 
their feet and laid three in the bottom of the canoe, two 
others on the top of the three, and one more on the top 
of all, until the whole length of the canoe was filled. 
These were taken across the river, left on the other side, 
and the process repeated until all were ferried over. The 
driving along the Coast was probably the easiest part of 
the journey, though those who remember the tiring and 
dreary journey in the coach along the beach, can imagine 
it must have been very tiresome, with the roaring waves 
on one side and the sandhills on the other, with now and 
then the skeleton of a wreck high and dry on the beach. 
The sheep, no doubt, got some pickings now and then on 
the sandhills near the sea, or became accustomed to their 
surroundings to such an extent as to nibble at the seaweed 
if the tide was out. Sheep get quite fond of seaweed, 
when running out on the Coast, and possibly, as it contains 
a good deal of potash and phosphoric acid, it is a healthy 
food for them, especially hoggets, which I am told do 
especially well, run lightly on the sandhills on the Coast 


The sheep, which came from Sydney in vessels, were 
sold at about 30/- per head, and sometimes £2. I was 
told by one who had bought part of a shipment in the 
early days. He afterwards settled in Hawke's Bay, but 
took the sheep he bought up to Masterton, and ran them 
on shares, as was frequently the custom at that time. The 
owner of the land, I think, found the pasture and took 
half of everything, including progeny. 

My friend afterwards leased land from the Maoris 
near Waipukurau, and proceeded to take the sheep from 
Masterton, Soon he got into the bush, and then he had 
a trying job. The track sometimes came to clearings, 
and in them, growing thick, was generally plenty of tutu, 
and this the sheep ate greedily as they got nothing in the 
bush track except leaves flavoured with mud. Soon they 
were sprawling about in convulsions, from the effects of 
the tutu poison, and each one had to be bled, and they 
had to wait till they could travel again. It was a great 
relief when he got out on to the Coast, and had the sheep 
safe on the beach. 

They seem to have been all merinos, and must have 
been hardy beasts, but how their feet stood is a mystery. 
These sheep are very subject to foot rot, and get very foot 
sore when travelled. No doubt they took very short 
journeys, as people did not live at the breakneck speed 
of the present day, and, as the Scotch would say, were 
** contented wi' little and canty wi' mair." The journey 
up the Coast must have been a thing of many weeks, but 
assistance was no doubt at hand, as the Maoris were 
always present and glad to earn a shilling. "When they 
had crossed the Rangitikei River they must have had a 
diflScult job to get the poor footsore sheep along. 
Probably they camped them for a week or two at different 
places, with little fear of their wandering, for Merino 
sheep generally keep close together, and never spread out 
like the English breeds. I remember when I came buying 
some Merino ewes from Mr. Fergusson at Mingiroa — 


(there were few cross-wooUed sheep in the country then). 
After I bought them they were turned out on the 
Mangaone side, where a man (Donald Sinclair) was 
putting up a division fence by himself. To his astonish- 
ment, he saw a flock of animals all come pouring over a 
hill, black looking little things, all huddled together, and 
he told me afterwards he thought they were pigs. 
However, they were to us what the pig is to the Irishman, 
the animal that "paid the rint." 

The man whom Mr. Skipwith sent up with this first lot 
of sheep was "Jim Bell," who seemed to have had them 
on terms (in 1851) at what was called Koreromaiwhaho. 
Mr. Bell died shortly afterwards, and the hospitality of 
"The Hoe" seemed to extend to him even after death, for 
he was buried there. 

The family which, undoubtedly, had the greatest effect 
upon the settlement in Rangitikei was that of Duncan 
Fraser and his wife Marjorie, — this is a favourite name 
in the Highlands and is usually contracted to Maisie. Mr. 
Donald Fraser describes his father as "being one of a 
family of fifteen, his mother one of fifteen, and himself 
one of fifteen." They came out in the "Blenheim," a 
barque of 450 tons, under Captain Gray. She sailed from 
Greenock, and after a voyage of four months and ten or 
twelve days, arrived in Wellington harbour on 
Christmas Day 1840. There were 150 emigrants on board, 
mostly from the Highlands. The passengers landed at 
Kaiwarra on the 27th December, 1840 (according to Mr. 
Alick McDonald, whose autobiographical notes have been 
lent to me, and who came at that time as a boy with his 
parents). There were Camerons galore — three large 
families connected with each other; Frasers, Mackenzies, 
Macfarlanes, Fergussons, McDonalds, McQuarries, Camp- 
bells, McGregors, McMasters, Morrisons, McKays, and 
Browns were some of the names of the new arrivals. And 
as Mr. Fraser says most of the single men on board 


married "Blenheim" girls, as the four months and a half 
voyage ' ' was a grand time for courting. ' ' 

Mr. and Mrs. Fraser and family came from Fort 
Augustus, on the Caledonian Canal. Mr. Duncan Fraser 's 
father was 107 years 7 months and 7 days old when he 
died. Mrs. Fraser did not change her name when she 
married, as her maiden name was also Fraser. She 
belonged to the Lovat family, her grandfather being a 
Captain in the 42nd Highlanders. On New Year's day, 
1841, they were established in a toe-toe whare at Kaiwarra. 
The Government had got the Maoris to build big vthares, 
and these were partitioned off for the different families, 
and the Frasers lived in one, with Wharepouri's canoe 
standing overlooking them all. It is there to this day, I 
believe, although I have not seen it for some time. The 
Maoris had a quaint habit of digging a hole and setting 
their chief's canoe upright — so that about two-thirds of it 
stood out of the ground — as a monument to the dead. 

John Fraser was the eldest and learned the black- 
smithing trade with his father, but he soon left to join the 
armed police under Major Durie. Mrs. McGregor (who 
lives now in Wanganui), Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. T. U. 
McKenzie, Mrs. Campion, Mrs. Richardson, Alec, (who 
died about 1859), Donald (bom February, 1835), Duncan 
(who died in 1860 in Whanganui), Thomas, bom in the 
Bay of Biscay (there had been a previous boy called 
Thomas, who died at Home), Hugh, bom in Wellington, 
Marjorie, first wife of Frank Deighton, Miss Fraser, who 
lives at Patea, and Jane, who married Mr. Richardson, 
and whose son is now County Clerk, constituted the 
Fraser family. With such a large family, almost all 
married, it is no wonder that the descendants of these 
grand old pioneers are legion. 

Mr. Fraser, soon after arrival, started a blacksmith's 
shop on the beach, helped by his son John, near where the 
Tinakori road starts now from the Hutt road, and where 
at that time there were several shops. 


Mr. Fraser came out to the Colony with the intention 
of buying land to settle his family upon, for he saw that 
there was much more chance of their getting on well in 
a new country than in "Caledonia stern and wild," and 
when the Rangitikei block was purchased he very soon 
came up to have a look at it, and rode on to Whanganui, 
where his daughter, Mrs. Campion, was then living. On his 
return he bought Section 34, containing 200 odd acres, 
and he paid the Government 10/- an acre for it. The 
balance of Pukehou was purchased at different times by 
his son, Mr. Donald Fraser, the present owner. 

The front sections were assessed at 10/- an acre, a 
fairly good price for land which had just cost the Govern- 
ment a few years before 2i/2d. an acre. The land behind 
could be applied for by any one, and the Land Commis- 
sioner came up and pointed out an imaginary line, behind 
which the land cost 5/-, and in front 10/-. Some of it 
cost, however, 7/6 per acre. One might ask a conundrum 
"Who made the land worth its present value? Mr. Fraser 
and family, or the public? Socialists say, the people. 
Honest folk think Mr. Fraser is entitled to any increment. 
The glorious country which the people of New Zealand 
have inherited, with all its advantages of climate, soil 
and situation, was made possible by such pioneers as the 
Frasers. Socialists point the finger of scorn at them, and 
say, ' ' Wealth is the creation of labour, therefore to labour 
belongs all wealth." Well, certainly the Frasers, and 
such as they, had shown that they had made the country's 
wealth, and some more of other peoples, they changed a 
wilderness into a fertile country. But that is another 
story. It seems that Mr. Duncan Fraser paid for the land 
with what was then known as "compensation scrip," 
which he purchased from one, "Ashdown." Many bought 
this scrip at Home from the New Zealand Land Company, 
by which they were entitled to take up so much land in 
New Zealand. Many got dissatisfied with the delay in 
getting their land, and sold the scrip, often for less than 


the face value. Mr. Donald Fraser describes the land as 
being all covered with fern and tutu on the lower flats 
and swamps with flax and toe-toe round the edge, 

John Fraser and his brother Alec, came up in 1851 to 
settle on the land, John was a genial pleasant man with 
much to tell of early days. He told me one very 
interesting fact about the Maoris, Of course a whare was 
the flrst thing thought of, and the next was water, and 
John and his brother proceeded to dig a well. The Maoris 
used to come up and watch them with great curiosity 
when they were told that they were digging for water, 
they thought the pakeha was porangi indeed. Each day 
they watched — as only Maoris can — ^sitting contentedly 
watching others working, until at last to their astonish- 
ment water was struck, and in a few hours a plentiful 
supply was the result. Then their thoughts changed, 
"How did you know there was water there?" they asked. 
John said it was a mystery which only he could solve, 
and he posed for the nonce as a water finder, 

Pukehou whare, Mr. John Stevens describes as **a 
large clay house 36 x 36 — "wattle and dab" — thatched 
with bark, and over that with toe-toe pulled from the 
roots, which lasts three times as long as the leaves alone 
would do. When he came to Rangitikei, in 1854, the dairy 
was being built similarly, and there was a bark and slab 
blacksmith's shop, just where the present shop stands. 
The first wliare naturally was not likely to be of such a 
palatial size, Mr. Donald Fraser come up in 1852 with 
his brother John, who had returned to Wellington for 
some cattle, and they drove them all the way from 
Wellington on foot. They crossed the river at the mouth, 
and drove the cattle up a surveyor's line to the Hoe. 
This was in March of that year. The stock for a time must 
have had a free run all over the country, for there were 
only the natural fences, such as swamps and rivers, to 
restrain them from wandering here and there, there were 
probably bits of "tie-ups," as the Maoris called them, put 


across the track through the swamp. As time went on 
the sheep that came through and knocked up were left 
with the settlers, and the Pukehou flock began in this 
way. The younger men learnt to shear on this small but 
gradually increasing flock. Hugh Fraser and John 
Stevens, being boys together, as they grew up became 
expert shearers, and most of the young men of the dis- 
trict followed their example. 

The life must have been a very free one, and no doubt 
a busy one, for as the flocks and herds grew, and the 
division fences so indifferent, they must have got mixed 
and taken a great deal of mustering and watching. Very 
much the same kind of life as Gordon describes. 
" 'Twas merry in the glowing morn, among the gleaming 

To wander as we 've wandered many a mile, 
And blow the cool tobacco cloud and watch the white 
wreathes pass 

Sitting loosely in the saddle all the while. 
'Twas merry 'mid the blackwoods, when we spied the 
station roofs. 

To wheel the wild scrub cattle at the yard. 
With a running fire of stock-whips, and a fiery run of 

Oh ! the hardest day was never then too hard. 
There must have been often difficulty in getting 
through the work of the day, for they might have 
exclaimed as Cecil Rhodes did, **So little time — so much 
to do," and men and women alike must have been as busy 
as bees, the whole of their waking hours. 

It would be impossible for me to follow out the rami- 
fications of the Fraser family, but again I quote Mr. 
Aliek Donald: '*The family of Duncan Fraser and his 
wife must now number fully one thousand souls. Of the 
second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth generations 
descended from old Duncan Fraser and his wife, I have 
lost all count, but I do think it would be very remiss on 


the part of his family if they do not, before it is too late, 
construct a proper whakapapa,, or family tree. 

"Down to the latest time the descendants of that old 
couple may be proud of their descent from these early 
and worthy colonists, and so it may be said of other 
families who came out at that time, though I do not 
know of any single family quite, or even nearly, so 
numerous as the Frasers." 

As was to be expected from their character, there were 
always some Maoris around to help and to look on, and 
sometimes they attached themselves to particular indi- 

One old fellow over sixty years of age had thus con- 
stituted himself henchman at Pukehou. Some one asked 
him one day who he was. "Oh ! I am the boy of Pereiha" 
(Fraser). Reading over the Maori names attached to the 
deed of sale one day to Mr. Fraser and Mr. R. Stevens, the 
latter said when I came to one Maori name, "Oh! that's 
our old Maori. I remember him well when I was a boy, 
he used to sit outside all day, and do odd jobs. When 
anyone asked him who he was he always said he belonged 
to us." 

And thus the time went by; no sales to attend, no 
newspapers to read, except an occasional budget from 
Home ; no circulating library or magazine club ; no after- 
noon teas ; only work. 

Before I am done with Pukehou, perhaps a short note 
or two about Mr. John Stevens would not be out of place, 
as he grew up in Lower Rangitikei, and to whom I am 
indebted for much information. His memory is wonderful, 
to the minutest detail. 

He was born in Wellington on the 20th October, 1845, 
on Thorndon flat. When a lad he paid occasional visits 
to a school kept by Mr. Buxton, but found outdoor life 
more congenial, and shepherded some sheep on Thorndon 
flat for Elijah Wilton for a time, at 10/- a week. In 
December, 1854, he came up to Rangitikei with his 


grandfather in a fore and aft schooner called "The 
Sisters" with ''Barney" Riley as Captain. Starting from 
the sand beach at Pipitea Point, they embarked in the 
afternoon, and next morning found themselves north of 
Kapiti, under full sail with a steady breeze. This must 
have been good going, for John Lees told me it once took 
him a week to go by schooner from Wellington to 

It was time for breakfast and the boy was hungry, 
and he readily agreed to try the dish, which Barney 
called "scouse." It was in a big tin dish and was really 
liquid Irish stew, and it was soon all gone. 

By four in the afternoon they ran on to the sand spit 
on the north, inside Rangitikei heads. They lowered the 
dingy and the passengers went ashore, walking up over 
sandhills to Scott's accommodation house. On the way 
up they met some Maori boys playing at breaking in 
horses. One with a shirt down to his hips, and a tre- 
mendous head of hair, with his already big mouth made 
bigger, and sore and bleeding by the bit, as he was 
supposed to be the horse. When he saw them he ran up 
and gazed at the white boy who was smaller than him, 
and turning to Mr. Fraser said, "Hullo! Pereiha." They 
soon came to Scott's the original whare, on the north bank 
of the river and much nearer the heads than the present 
road (about a mile and a half from the old ferry) where 
there were several boys to foregather with. They 
stayed at Scott's for a day or two, partly, no 
doubt, to help to start the schooner. John went 
with the Scott boys — Jack, Tom, and Davy — ^to 
Adam Keir's in a cart (he distinctly remembers that the 
mare was named "Taratahi") to get a pig, along the 
track which, for this short distance, apparently was pos- 
sible for cart traffic. There were great quantities of tutu 
and koromiko. Locusts, both green and brown, were 
flying about in a manner most alarming to the boy who 
was a towny. However, nothing happened, and after 


getting the pig the day's adventure came to an end by 
the return to Scott's. Next day his uncle, Donald Fraser, 
came down for them with four bullocks attached to a 
sledge. The names of the bullocks he remembers were, 
Tom, Colonel, Charlie and Soldier. So there was little 
novelty as far as names were concerned, but the trip up 
was a never-to-be-forgotten one — very little different from 
the oscillating movement of the schooner. There seems to 
have been some provision made for a school, for "Mis- 
sionary" Taylor had sent out a man called by the settlers 
Benfield, but his name was really Bonnefelt. 

Later there was a night school between Pukehou and 
Waitatapia, kept by one Freeth, and later the school was 
removed to the flat between Pukehou and Raumai, where 
John McLenaghan, a sergeant in the 5th, seems to have 
had charge. The big wliare at Pukehou had been built, 
and "Bill" Sparks and Ive Dunn, of the 65th Regiment, 
were helping John Fraser to saw the timber for the 
blacksmith's shop. 

As there were no pakeha children, except his uncle 
Hugh, about the same age, his principal companions were 
Maoris, and thus he "picked up" their language — the 
dialect of the Ngatiapas is said to be the worst in New 
Zealand — and wherever he went after he grew up, to act 
as interpreter, he was known to the Maoris as a Ngatiapa. 

Goats seem not to have been despised in those days, 
for Mr. Stevens says that he began shearing on the pet 
sheep, and learned to milk chiefly on goats, of which there 
were hundreds. Afterwards Mr. and Mrs. Stevens came 
up and lived on the flat below Pukehou, and their son 
then went there to live with them. This house had the grand 
name of the Handley Arms, because the first visitor who 
arrived was Mr. Handley, who bought 1,000 sheep from 
Mr. Campion, and came to take them away. When this 
house was built it was considered rather a curiosity, for 
it was weatherboarded and thatched with straw. The 
thatching was done by old Mr. Whale, who was a splendid 


farm hand, and had been well taught at Home. When 
they saw him putting the straw on, they said that it would 
never keep the rain out. "Look 'ere maester, if that 'ere 
straw le-akes I'll e-ate al' that 'ere straw." But although 
it didn't leak it was soon replaced by shingles. The 
remark reminds me of an old friend Jeffries — or, as he was 
always called, "Jeff" — in Melbourne. He was looking 
through Wilson's St. Albans stables with a number of 
others from Melbourne, and they came to a horse called 
"Don Juan," which had just won a race at Caulfield, and 
there was some discussion as to whether he would not 
win the Melbourne Cup. He was rather a common-looking 
gelding with a plain head : but was only to carry 6st, 121bs, 
in the Cup. When they were coming out of the box, Jeff 
said, "If that horse wins the Melbourne Cup, I'll eat my 
hat. ' ' Well, he did win : but Jeff never ate his hat, as far 
as I know. He had been a middy in his youth, and was 
before Sebastopol in his vessel. Having a day off he 
climbed up the hill overlooking Balaclava Valley, and sat 
down. The guns were firing on both sides of the valley 
at the Russian end. He saw a commotion in the English 
camp. The bugles blew and the horsemen formed up and 
dashed down the valley. A single horseman rode across 
their front pointing with his sword to the guns on the side, 
and then fell forward in his saddle and the Charge of the 
Light Brigade began. Puffs of smoke on all sides, horses 
falling as they went in twos and three, they dashed into 
the guns at the bottom of the valley and silenced them, and 
there was a general melee. Formed up again they rode 
back — 'But not the six hundred." — He said that the whole 
thing only took a few minutes. This is the charge that 
the French, who went to their assistance and charged and 
silenced the guns on one of the sides of the valley, said, 

"C'est magnifiqiie mais ce n'est pas la guerre." 

Mr. and Mrs. T, N. McKenzie, 

John McKelvie, 



Another family which soon came to reside in Rangi- 
tikei was that of T. U. McKenzie. He himself came out 
in the "Aurora," which left Gravesend in September, 
1839. The three ships, "Aurora," "Oriental," and 
"Adelaide" sailed away from Gravesend together, amid 
great excitement. Many friends had come to see them off. 
Bands were playing, flags flying, when the whole three 
vessels "started off like horses in a race." He worked 
about "Wellington for some time and had a horse and cart 
on the beach, and was mates with "Johnny Martin," who 
also plied for hire about the same time. In 1849 he went 
out to Porirua and was a "ganger" on the road, while it 
was being made up the Horokiwi Valley, and was paid 
for his work at the rate of 2/6 a day. I remember an old 
fellow, Carpenter, who was a very early Colonist and had 
a second-hand book shop in Molesworth Street, Wellington. 
I have often talked to him about the early days, and he 
told me he was glad to get work out at Karori at 2/- or 
3/- a day, and lived quite happily on it. Sir George Grey 
used often to stop and yam to the old fellow on his way 
to the House. 

Mr. McKenzie had, in the meanwhile, married Miss 
Margaret Fraser in "Wellington, and they went up to 
Turakina about 1850, and lived where the Manse and 
Maori School now stand. He worked round there for a 
while, shearing, etc., and in 1854 bought Poyntzfield, 
which he added to by buying out Nattrass and Bennett, 
who had taken land up with scrip, but I do not think they 
ever resided in Rangitikei. Another piece he bought was 
from W. B. Rhodes, who afterwards owned so much land 


between Bulls and Turakina. He bought some sheep 
from Treweek in Wanganui, and brought them out. He 
used to say that all his draught stock were descended 
from an old mare, "Annie," which he bought from 
"Dick" Hammond, who then lived near Wellington, and 
brought her up in foal to "Samson," which was a very 
well known horse. The Maoris had quite a number of 
horses then, many of them with Riddleworth blood in their 

There was a very large family of the McKenzies. 
Robert, Tom, and Duncan had land bought for them on 
the Carnarvon side when it was sold about 1866, and 
when the land at Taipo bush was sold Mr. McKenzie 
bought land for his other sons, Donald, Alick, Willie, 
Charlie, David, and James. But they parted with the land 
there, and are now scattered everywhere. Many of them 
have been successful colonists. 

Mr. McKenzie was a great gardener, and his garden 
was celebrated far and wide. He was most generous in 
giving things away ; he had taken great pains to get plants 
of all kinds long before the days of nurseries, and the 
visitors to Poyntzfield were all charmed with the profusion 
of flowers. 

There were also a great many daughters in the family, 
but they have all left Rangitikei. 

I think Mr. McKenzie was one of the best drivers I 
ever saw. He always drove a pair, which were well 
matched, and he kept them together and smartened them 
up in a way which only comes to a few. "Charlie" 
Gordon, who, as a lad, had been post boy in Dunkeld and 
Pitlochry, was his only equal in the district 

Mr. and Mrs. Brookie first came up to work 
for Mr. McKelvie, and after going to Mr. Keir's 
they bought their present farm from Mr. Dickson 
and have resided on it ever since. Mr. Brookie 
lately died, aged 93, after a life of usefulness. Almost to 
the day of his death he worked on the farm at something. 
Mrs. Brookie still lives on the farm with her son. The 


other members of the family are all living in the 

Another very early settler was "Con" Campion. He, 
too, had married a Miss Fraser, in 1848. They afterwards 
went up to Whanganui. He seems to have been an extremely 
popular man. He was bom in the same year as Queen 
Victoria (1819) at Mount Rath, in Queen's County, Ireland, 
where his people were farmers and bred a great many horses. 
He ran away from home and enlisted when he was about 
seventeen, but he was bought out and taken home. The 
spirit of unrest, however, was on him, and off he went 
again. "When he got some distance away from home, he 
found that his brother, several years younger than 
himself, had followed him. So he took him with him, and 
they both enlisted in the 65th Regiment. "Con" was 
a big fellow, and went into the ranks at once, but his 
brother was put into the Regimental school, and became 
very clever with his pen, and as a draughtsman. "Con" 
rose to be the Colour-Sergeant before he left it. 

After the Frasers came to live in Rangitikei, about 
1852, Mr. and Mrs. Campion first came out and bought 
what is now known as Pemwood from T. Tylee. When 
Mr. Campion lived there he both grew and bought a good 
deal of wheat from the Maoris. The two flat paddocks 
between the road and the sandhills which Mr. Keiller 
cropped several times, were frequently in wheat. As has 
been mentioned before, the Tutaenui stream was opposite 
here, and a fairly large flat lay between it and the Rangi- 
tikei, but this has all been washed away, and the stream 
now runs into the river at the bridge further up. The 
wheat was taken down in canoes to Scott's, and there 
shipped away in crafts elsewhere. The canoes lay in the 
Tutaenui below, and the wheat had to be carried from 
where it was stored, down a steep path to the canoes, 
close to where the gate in the hollow is now, opposite 
Femwood gate. This work the Maoris did, and pretty 


heavy work it must have been. I suppose they got what 
Mr, Fraser paid them for other work, viz., 1/- a day. 

One of these Maoris was called Paparua (the mule). 
During the carrying of this wheat down there was a good 
deal of chatter and chaff to enliven the work, and Paparua 
was frequently challenged to carry two bags down. Being 
a stout, thickset fellow, he had a great reputation for 
strength, and was very proud of it. After a time he got 
fired with ambition, and to show them his prowess, said 
he would, and accordingly did carry the two bags down 
to the canoe. But he only left one, and solemnly carried 
the other up again to the top. His reason for giving him- 
self this additional work was, he explained, "that he was 
paid to carry one, and he wasn't going to carry two for 
the same pay." He then tramped down again with the 
sack of wheat, which had done the double journey. 

Mr. Campion afterwards sold this place to a Mr. 
Holgate, who came from Buenos Aires, where he had been 
storekeeping, after which he went home again to York- 
shire. But he became restless, and came out to New 
Zealand and brought with him a regular set of implements 
for a small farm, including a one-horsepower threshing 
machine, and iron and wooden-framed house, which he 
afterwards set up at Fernwood, but at first he lived in the 
Campion's whare. I always heard that he was an artist, 
but apparently he was only an amateur, for Mr. R. B. 
McKenzie tells me he has a picture of his of "Lake 
Champlain," and on the back it is recorded that it is by 
"John Fawcett Holgate, Derby, amateur." He died in 

The woolshed, I forgot to say, was on the kowhai flat 
by the Tutaenui, but it was eventually washed away. 
Holgate had a penchant for horses, and even when I came, 
many years later, there was a tradition of Holgate 's grey 
mare. Mr. Stevens tells me she was called "Kiki," and 
imported from New South Wales, with a good dash of 
Arab blood in her, and had a beautiful head and neck. 


She had a lot of foals by "Craven," of which Mr. Stevens 
broke two, and John BuUer several others. "Craven" 
was by "Samson," a draught horse. 

The Whales, Emmens (married to sisters) and Crockers, 
came out with the Bunnys, who afterwards came to Rangi- 
tikei, and Mr. and Mrs. Emmens went to keep house for 
Mr. Holgate, who was a bachelor. 

After Mr. Campion sold out to Holgate he bought what 
is now called Raumai, then called Makiri. This place had 
changed hands several times. The first to purchase it was 
"Andy" Green, the father of the Mr. W. Green, who lived 
in Bulls for a long time, and was known, by way of 
distinction, as "Billy" Green. 

Green swopped the place for a public house in 
Whanganui to J. M, Taylor, who never resided on it, but 
sold it to Alec Winks, who planted the gum trees just 
opposite the present Raumai gate, and had a house there. 
Tricker, who worked for him, had been bought out of the 
65th Regiment by Mr, McDonell for £20, was now on 
Raumai, and had a whare on the sandhiU. just across a 
small swamp from the gums, on what was called Puke- 
Rewa. Alec, Winks then sold to one Wooley, who again 
sold to Campion, and Winks bought a piece of land from 
Keir lower down. During the time Campion had it, the 
Whales and Emmens lived on it in wkares. The Campions 
were a fairly large family. There were Mrs, John Stevens, 
Mrs, R, Stevens, Duncan and Mrs, Fred Bryce (twins), 
Con, Alec, Mrs, Jack Bryce, Mrs, Fred Hammond, and 
Miss Campion, Mr, Campion seems to have led too roving 
a life to settle down to farming, and did not do well. He 
got entangled somehow in money matters with the Frazers 
of Mana, two old bachelors, who seemed to have the knack 
of saving money, Raumai was let for a time to Hugh 
Fraser and John Stevens, but scab got amongst the sheep 
and they did not do much. The Frazers bought Campion 
out, who went over the river and bought Pine Creek, 
where Mr, Campion died, Mr, James Campion said his 


father was bom the same year as the Queen, that is 1819, 
and he died when 54 years old, that would make his death 
in 1873. Mrs. Campion was a splendid type of colonist, 
always kind and motherly, always cheerful; a strong 
character who was loved by everyone who came in contact 
with her. 

Another and well-known settler, who came rather later 
than those above mentioned, was John McKelvie. He 
seems to have been what his countrymen call a "land 
gatherer, ' ' yet he had led a roving and varied life. 

He was born in Edinburgh about 1818, was apprenticed 
to Duncan and Flockhart, chemists, there, but soon 
left home for Sydney, where he got a position 
in the Sydney hospital for several years, and went 
up country to begin life as a hut keeper ; then 
he became stockman, and began life on "his own" by 
joining with two or three others and buying up 800 
bullocks, which were then very cheap, and drove them 
1000 miles to Sydney. After selling them they had a 
profit of £10 to divide, which was spent in champagne that 
night, and they began again. Shortly afterwards the 
diggings broke out in Victoria, and he hied him there, 
having bought more bullocks and driven them overland. 
He had a number of teams then on the road from Mel- 
bourne to the diggings, though the best thing he did from 
a monetary point of view was to comer flour, and when he 
came to New Zealand he had £20,000 in cash, a ripe 
experience, and a very saving nature. 

When he came to Wellington he put his money in the 
hands of Nathaniel Levin, then a young man beginning 
business, and the head of what became Levin & Co., and 
I think his (McKelvie 's) business has never left the firm 
to this day. I think he must have bought some 
Wellington property before he came up, at any rate, at 
his death, he was owner of a good deal there. He first 
came to Rangitikei in about '55 or '56, and seems to have 
come up and stayed with another Edinburgh man called 


Adam Keir. (The Keirs in Scotland got their name because 
of being left-handed.) He seems to have been a brewer, 
but bought and sold considerable areas of land (for the 
time), and at last settled on a small section near the 
present Waitatapia House. At the time Mr. McKelvie 
came up he (Keir) was living on section 5, 



With the help of Mr. Marchant, late chief surveyor, I 
hunted up some old maps, and found from them the 
original grantees. Here are some of them from Parewanui 
downward : — 

Section 3 — James Wallace, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 4 — James Walker, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 5 — ^Adam Keir, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 6 — James Wallace, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 7 — John McKelvie, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 8 — R. S. Boroughes, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 9 — Francis Logan, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 10 — T. Holland, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 10a — A. Keir, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 11 — John Yule, afterwards belonged to John 

Section 12 — T. U. McKenzie, afterwards belonged to T. U. 

Section 12a — T. U. McKenzie, afterwards belonged to T. 

U. McKenzie. 
Section 13 — W. L. Nattrass, afterwards belonged to T. U. 



Section 14 — Wm. Bennett, afterwards belonged to T. U. 

Section 15— Ruth France, afterwards belonged to T. U. 

Section 16 — A. Osborne, T. Holland and T. Page, after- 
wards belonged to W. Waring Taylor. 
Section pt. 16— Sir B. B. Wrey. 
Section 17 — W. B. Rhodes, afterwards belonged to J. 

Section 18 — J. Somes, afterwards belonged to W. Waring 

Section pt. 19, 21, 23 and 25— D. Cameron, afterwards 
belonged to Mrs. McDonell. 
It will then be seen that Mr. McKelvie became the 
owner of over 2,000 acres of the finest land in Rangitikei, 
and ** McKelvie 's flat" has been synonymous with 
fattening qualities. Mr. McKelvie was a great reader, and 
had his bent been in the direction of politics he would have 
had no difficulty of taking a leading part in them. He 
would soon have been able to make very effective speeches, 
for his conversation (save that he never forgot the over- 
lander's lingo) was always more or less of a speech. 

Dr. Curl, who was a pet aversion of his, once began, 
and carried out some experiments in grass growing. He 
was noted for starving his stock, and a more miserable lot 
of sheep could not be seen on a day's journey; so that it 
seemed rather an anomaly that he should experiment on 
grasses. He published his views in the ''Transactions of 
the Philosophical Society, ' ' Wellington, and one day asked 
Mr. McKelvie if he had seen it. *Yes, sir, I have, and I've 
read it all before in Chambers ' ' ' Miscellany. ' ' Everything 
he took in hand turned into money, and he died a very 
wealthy man. 

Mr. McKelvie married the daughter of an old settler, 
Mr. Amon, who came out some years later. Mrs. Amon 
and Mrs. G. W. Wheeler, another old Rangitikei settler, 
were sisters. Mr. Wheeler had been in the Navy, and 


came out about '51 or '52, before his wife and her 
relations, and came up to Rangitikei to assist Mr. Scott 
in his business at the Ferry — ^keeping the books, etc. — 
as there was then a considerable trade by sailing crafts 
to and from Wellington. No doubt this trade was the 
reason of Mr. and Mrs. Amon's coming out to settle, about 
1856. Their eldest son, Arthur, managed for Mr. 
McKelvie for a long time; till he bought the place his 
sons have now at the mouth of the river. Mr. and Mrs. 
McKelvie had a large family, mostly settled in Rangitikei. 
Another Miss Amon married into the McKenzie family, 
who lived close by. Mr. Amon, Senior, was very fond of 
music, and rarely missed a concert in Bulls. His was a 
very kindly, pleasant nature, and he was a good citizen. 
His other sons have properties in the Glen Oroua district. 
The Burnes family also arrived about the same time. 
Henry Burnes took up what was known as the "Round 
Bush," which name still marks the spot. Mr. William 
Burnes and Mr. James Paulin came about this time to 
Rangitikei. Mr. Paulin bought his land from Mr. 
Campion. Mr. Paulin came from Aberdeen, where he was 
connected with the fishing trade. When he came out to 
Rangitikei he and Mr. William Burnes put up the first 
ditch and bank fence for the Frasers which was built in 
the neighbourhood, and he got £1 a chain for it and his 
food. The ditch-and-bank fences have gone almost 
entirely out of fashion nowadays, with the advent of 
cheap wire ; but, unless we get some substitute for timber, 
we may again have recourse to them. No doubt 
re-inforced concrete posts act as an imperishable sub- 
stitute, but they have not "taken on" in New Zealand 
yet. The ditch-and-bank fence takes up too much ground 
in these times of high-priced land, a three-sod bank being 
about 9ft. wide, and a four-sod bank proportionately more. 
Around a paddock on Ngaio I have a fence which was 
originally put up for Laurie Daniel, when he had the 
place leased from the Maoris. It was used for a paddock 


to muster the run cattle into, and required to be high and 
formidable to keep the cattle in. Mr. Alec. Bailey told 
me that he and his brothers put it up when the mill at 
Pukapukatea was stopped for some reason, and they 
preferred to work at this job rather than remain idle. 
It must have been a very imposing structure, for, even 
now, after nearly fifty years, it takes some "leppin'." 
The gorse is still growing well, although much of it in 
the neighbourhood is dying out. The beautiful colour of 
the gorse fences made Rangitikei quite pleasing to the 
eye; but now we have the useful and trim-looking wire 
fences, which are certainly not beautiful. 

Mr. Paulin,* like many others, went to the Bendigo 
diggings when they broke out, but returned and settled 
down, marrying Miss Harkness, who hailed from the 
same district in Scotland. Having worked very hard as 
a young man, he has suffered much from rheumatism, and 
is now able only to see the world from his verandah 
across the trim garden in front, which at all times of the 
year is bright with flowers. He had a beautiful flat 
opposite his house covered with kowhai trees, as most of 
the flats used to be. It had belonged to Major Baker in 
Wellington, whose son afterwards was head of Bannatyne 
& Co.'s. The river, however, in one of its vagaries, 
washed nearly the whole of it away right up to the cliff 
below his house, and left his land on the other side. For 
many years Mr. Bull paid him rent for this piece, and it 
must have been a sad blow to him to see his best land 

The Fergussons, whose land joined his on the north, 
came out in the same vessel as the Frasers. They came 
from Skye. Donald and Sarah came with their people in 
the "Blenheim," and Alexander was bom in Wellington. 
Donald and Alexander Fergusson were very good 
settlers and much respected: Donald has departed, and 

* Alas I Mr. Paulin, too, has joined the majority. 


all their descendants have left the district, but Alexander 
Fergusson still lives in the neighbourhood. 

This completes the whole Lower Rangitikei land, as 
it was first taken up, as far up as where Greatford is at 
present. The next land above that was taken up by Sir 
Wilham Fox (then Mr. Fox). Sir William was a lawyer, 
and came from Durham in England, and was sent out to 
wind up the Land Company 's affairs. He was a very able 
man, with a very bitter tongue, which often made enemies, 
but he was a fine, upright, public-spirited man, who played 
a great part in the public life of the Colony. Lady Fox 
was a slight, fragile woman, who played her part well, 
too, and many of the old generation in her neighbourhood 
can remember that they went to Sunday School, and they 
all had a great regard for her as a truly Christian 

Sir William had bought a good deal of compensation 
scrip at various times from those who, coming to the 
Colony and not caring for the life, sold out for what they 
could and left ; or turned their attention to other occupa- 
tions. He was thus able to take up a considerable area, 
running in an oblong block from the Rangitikei River up 
beyond the present Crofton. When he sold this township 
he must have named it after some English village. He 
called the place 'Westoe," and I fancy it must have been 
Lady Fox who named it, for she probably came from 
Devonshire, and hence the West Country name. Lady 
Fox was a Miss Halcombe, and her nephew, Arthur 
Follett Halcombe, afterwards came and managed the 
property. Old " Westoe" was on the flat next York Farm, 
and a clump of trees marks the spot yet. The present 
house, situated on the second terrace, but sheltered from 
the nor '-west wind, was built much later. Advantage was 
taken of the natural bush on the face of the cliff, and 
the drive went through this and round to the front, 
making a most picturesque entrance. 

Adjoining this property was York Farm, taken up 


by Dr. Dorset, a well-known man of that time, whose son 
is still in the Wairarapa. At that time it was called 
Motuweka, from the bush above, the remnant of which 
is still standing. The settlers for a long time were 
allowed to get their firewood from it, until it was sold to 
Mr. Hammond. The two brothers, Richard and Mathew 
Hammond, who eventually bought it, came from York- 
shire, where they were connected with the wool trade. 
They came out in the same ship as the Foxes, and settled 
down on the old Porirua road, near where Sir William 
Fox had a house. They naturally had horses (all 
Yorkshire men are fond of horses) and they acted as 
carriers and dealt with the settlers in wool and skins. 
They followed Sir William up to Rangitikei, and first 
bought land in Upper Tutaenui, which, having sold to the 
Galpins, they bought York Farm, as they called it, 
from Dr. Dorset, and settled down to work it. 
It ran right from the river up to the Tutaenui, 
following up that stream to just opposite Marton, 
which, of course, did not exist at that time. Mr. 
Richard Hammond was what Colonials call **a goer," 
and turned his attention, besides farming, to many things. 
His brother, Mr. Mathew, however, sold his share to 
* * Dick ' ' Hammond, as he was known, and bought Captain 
Daniel's property of Killeymoon, already alluded to. Mr. 
Richard Hammond's sons, Thomas, WiUiam, and John, 
were considered great men after cattle, especially **Bill." 
They leased land, all up the river, from the Maoris, and 
had cattle running along the river banks, where they 
readily fattened. Shortly after I came I remember 100 
head being sold to Mr. Gear at £11 a head, all fattened 
along the river, and it must have been an exciting time 
getting them in, for cattle got very wild in those days. 
The way the Hammond boys were able to get the cattle 
out of the bush was proverbial, and, with a pack of dogs 
and a stock whip, they roamed the bush right away to 
the Kiwitea, and seldom were beaten. The marvel was 


that they were not drowned, for they had to be continually 
crossing the river when going to their upper run, but 
"Bill," who did most of this work, had a charmed life, 
and although wet for days, and after many escapes, he 
died only a year ago — a great martyr to rheumatism. 
He hunted the hounds when they first started in Rangi- 
tikei, and no fence was too big for him, he always got over 
somehow. In the early times, too, the steeplechases used 
to be held on York Farm, and he is said to have ridden 
a horse, Marshall McMahon, round the course after having 
lost his bridle. His gear was never of the best, and 
breaking a bridle was a frequent occurrence. His world's 
gear, unfortunately, was of a similar description, I am 
afraid, and, after all his hard work, he never stuck to any 

Above the Hammonds were the Thoms and 
Cockbums, on the Porewa, and whose families are still 
there, though many of the Cockburns went elsewhere. 
Shrewd, thrifty people they were, and some of them 
amassed considerable wealth. True to their nationality, 
they were always admirers of the Clydesdale, and often 
had very good specimens of that breed. Old Mr. 
Cockbum died a centenarian, and some of his family still 
remain in the district, Mr. Cockbum, of Sandon, being 
a son, and Mrs. H. Hammond, Waitohi, a daughter. Some 
of the sons were employed at first on ' * Westoe. ' ' 

Mr. Thoms was also employed for a while at Westoe, 
and got some land from Mr. Fox. Just above Mr. Thoms' 
farm is a bluff on the Rangitikei, and running from it is 
a bed of papa rock, which has withstood the river encroach- 
ment since the first settlement. When the Onepuhi bridge 
over the Rangitikei was mooted, the late Mr. Hammond 
of York Farm said he would show the engineers where to 
put it, and he showed them a position somewhat below 
this bluff, and running out to a point of land on the 
Reu Reu side, which he said during all the time he had 
been in Rangitikei had never been flooded. Acting on 


this advice the bridge was built, and the Rangitikei, as 
if resenting the intrusion, began at once to shift its course, 
and made inroads on the bank for very ' cussedness. " 
Much work was done to protect the bank, but at last an 
"old man flood" came and washed the end away, and the 
stream ran on the other side. About a mile above there 
is a wonderful site for a bridge : high cliffs approach each 
other about 1000 feet apart, where a suspension bridge 
could be put up and be clear of any flood ; and some day, 
I expect, a bridge will be built there, for it is the best site 
for miles either way. The north side abutts on to Mr. 
Marshall's land, and the only other land similar to it 
below is opposite the Bulls Racecourse, but there the cliffs 
are about 1300 feet apart. 

The sight of the big '97 flood, issuing out of this gorge 
at Tutu Totara, must have been appalling, the water 
belching forth as out of a spout, and carrying with it 
trees, stacks, whares, fencing, and everything that came 
within its reach. Below this, and opposite Mr. Thoms', 
quite 100 acres must have been washed away. When the 
bush was standing along the upper reaches, the rain 
which fell soaked into the ground, and much of it was 
absorbed; but now, so much of the country has been 
grassed, that the rain runs down at once into the creeks, 
and the floods come down much faster. The water-way 
is too small, and in consequence the destruction caused 
means that Nature is trying to remedy this, and the river 
is making room for itself. There must have been 
thousands of acres washed away in this manner up and 
down the river, 

Patikipapa, which lies to the west of Messrs. Cockburn's 
and Thoms' farms, and to the north of York Farm, was 
taken up by a brother of A, De B. Brandon's, and at one 
time a Mr. George Roberts was with him on it. (This 
Mr. Roberts was the father of Mr. Roberts recently 
deceased, who was Commissioner of Crown Lands in 
Westland). It was sold, however, to Messrs. Harrison 


and Jones, who sold the lower land to Messrs. Easson 
Bros., two brothers from Strathmore, who had a splendid 
flock of Lincolns. They, in their turn, sold to Messrs. 
Death and Lynch, and went home to their native place 
and there died. Their sister, who had a life rent of their 
money, recently died, and £5000 came back to New 
Zealand as an endowment to the Whanganui Hospital, 
and is providing for the new wing it is proposed to build. 
Mr. Harrison retained the top portion of the farm, but not 
long ago it was cut up into smaller farms and sold. 

One of the Deaths came next in what is now called 
Overton. His brother had a piece of land now owned 
by Mr. David Crabb, and Mr. Ross settled down next to 
him. Mr. Ross was a lawyer of repute in Wellington, but 
his health suffered from the sedentary occupation, and 
he took up what was christened by him "Cokeley/' 
which property remained so long in his family. He 
found his next-door neighbour was Mr. Death, and, being 
of a humorous turn, used to tell his friends that "he had 
to leave "Wellington for his health and come to 
Rangitikei, and now he found himself at Death's door." 
The succeeding generation found out that the name was 
realy De Ath, or more properly D'Ath. The family have 
all left Rangitikei now and have scattered over New 
Zealand. Mr. Ross was the hero of an incident which 
might have had serious import, but which fortunately for 
all parties exploded in laughter. Accompanied by a 
friend he journeyed one day along the beach to the Hutt 
to shoot pigeons and kakas. Anyone who has seen the 
interesting pictures by Mr. Brees, the surveyor of the 
N.Z. Land Company, of the Hutt will have noticed that 
most of the land was covered with dense bush, even down 
to the river's edge. This bush was the habitat of innumer- 
able pigeons and kakas, as indeed all New Zealand bush 
was until the merciless slaughter of these beautiful birds 
by the pakehas practically exterminated them. When I 
came to New Zealand, in 1873, scarcely an hour passed 


without seeing some of these birds; now I haven't seen 
one for many years, except behind Mr. Mathew's, at 
Waiorongomai, on Lake Wairarapa, where he has pre- 
served a considerable area of native bush as a sanctuary. 
The native system of securing these birds for food was to 
snare them, and in order to entice them into the snare they 
cultivated the various calls of the birds until their 
imitation was most life-like. The process of snaring was, 
however, a slow one, and although time was of no moment 
to the Maori, so few were caught that the numbers in no 
way diminished until the pakeha brought his gun. Then 
the beautiful but confiding and innocent pigeon soon 
became victims to the "pot" hunter. The kaka did not 
suffer so badly, but he, too, is a thing of the past except 
where in a few places in New Zealand the bush is un- 
touched. Even the parakeet is never now seen, and the 
huia has been hunted for in vain. However, that is 
another story, though a sad one. Mr. Ross and his friend 
had no thought for the extirpation of the native birds, but 
as the natives were very much interested in guns and 
shooting, and perhaps thought some of the game would 
fall to their share, eagerly accompanied the sportsmen 
from the neighbouring pa in considerable numbers. As 
was their wont one of them was dispatched up a tree to 
"call" the birds and was imitating with considerable 
success the harsh shriek of the kaka. Hearing the bird 
so near him in the tree, and not knowing that any Maori 
had been sent up as a decoy, he took a pot-shot at what 
he thought was the bird, like the tailor in the old rhyme 
he "fired at the pigeon and shot the crow," for down came 
the Maori from amongst the branches, shot by the pakeJia. 
It is difficult to imagine the hub-bub that took place. 
Every Maori shouting at once, vowing vengeance against 
the unfortunate Mr. Ross, who didn't know a word of 
Maori, and could only guess by their threatening manner 
that he was in for a bad time, owing to an unfortunate 
accident which he could not intelligibly explain to the 


rapidly increasing number of Maoris, who soon gathered 
around. Mr. Ross was hurried to the pa, there to be 
"koreroed" over, and his friend was dispatched hot-foot 
to Wellington for the assistance of someone who knew the 
Maori language, and could explain matters. 

Mr. W. Swainson was Resident Magistrate at that 
time, and was a Maori scholar, so he was appealed to, and 
at once agreed to go out in haste to make an appeal on 
behalf of Mr. Ross. He had an impediment in his speech, 
which, under ordinary circumstances he was able to 
sufficiently control, but when he became excited this 
became sometimes sufficient to interrupt all connected 
speech. When he got to the pa and found his friend, Mr. 
Ross, dejectedly sitting in the midst of a jabbering lot of 
excited Maoris, all no doubt expressing their determina- 
tion to exact an eye for an eye, his excitement increased 
very naturally. It must be remembered that only a few 
years before this several English at the Hutt had been 
cruelly murdered by the Maoris, and this seemed likely 
to bring about another outbreak. The Maoris all became 
silent when he told them he was there to speak for his 
pakeha friend, they sat sullenly by as is their custom when 
resentful. The more Mr. Swainson tried to speak the more 
he stuttered and spluttered, and made "confusion worse 
confounded." The Maori is very curious about any 
peculiarity of gait, speech, or appearance, and at once 
notices, imitates, and speaks of these to each other. Like 
schoolboys, they have nicknames for most people, which is 
explained by some peculiarity of the individual. They 
are, moreover, great speakers themselves, and, although 
they never speak in the same direct and clear way that the 
Saxon does when he has anything to explain, they use 
imagery to an extent which is only known to the Eastern 
nations from which they sprung. Here was a man, 
however, whose grimaces were diverting to them, and 
whose attempted speech was a series of repetitions of 
syllables. This was too much for their gravity ; at first a 


titter of amusement was heard when some wag, imitating 
Mr. Swainson's effort at a speech, then it became general, 
and at last the whole audience, which had been sullenly 
wrathful only a few minutes before, became a convulsed 
and merry one, many giving vent to their imitative 
faculties. This saved the situation, no more effective 
speech was ever delivered by an advocate to save the life 
of his client before a jury. The Maoris were too much 
amused to be any longer resentful, and when Mr. 
Swainson, calmed by the turn of events, was at last able 
to state that no one was as sorry as Mr. Ross at the unfor- 
tunate accident, and that he would make every reparation 
in his power, the Maoris were content with the 
explanation, and the relieved pakehas left the scene, 
accompanied by a running imitation amongst the young 
bloods of the stuttering magistrate. 

Just below "Cokeley" was Moturumaruma, and this 
piece of land was taken up by Mr. Jenkins, who kept the 
New Zealander Hotel in Wellington; but he had no 
intention of living on it, so he engaged my old friend. Alec 
McDonald, to manage it. As I have Mr. McDonald 's MSS. 
I will give his experience in his own words: — "At last, 
when I was twenty-two years old, I took a billet as a 
full-blown manager of a five-hundred-acre farm belonging 
to a gentleman residing in Wellington. The farm was two 
miles or less above where the town of Marton now stands. 
My wages as manager were £50 per annum for self and 
wife in case I married. This engagement was in 1851. 
The first thing was to build a whare, and, as I have always 
been large-minded in the matter of house-room, I deter- 
mined to build a good big one. This I did with the 
assistance of a number of Maoris from the Reu Reu. The 
building was of saplings, walled, thatched, and divided 
into four rooms with toe-toe reeds. Next, I went to 
Wellington and brought up about a hundred cattle, 
purchased by my "Boss," then I split slabs and made all 
the furniture I considered necessary. 


Next, my dear and faithful little sweetheart* and I 
went into "Whanganui, there being no parson any nearer, 
and we were married. All Turakina that could ride a 
horse were there as witnesses. Then we all returned to 
Turakina to my father-in-law's whare and had a jollifica- 
tion. After this, my wife and I came home to our own 
whare. This was in January, 1852." 

To show the open house that was kept in those days 
Mr. McDonald goes on to say: "From 1845, when I ran 
away for good and all into the back blocks, I had no 
settled home. I ranged about through all the country 
districts of Wairarapa, Manawatu, Rangitikei, and 
Whanganui. Everywhere it was the same, there were no 
hotels, except at long intervals, for the convenience of 
travellers, mailmen, and stores for the surrounding dis- 
tricts. But any settler's whare was a place where a stray 
wayfarer, or intending settler looking for a location, was 
as welcome as in a first-class hotel. There was always 
bread and meat and tea. In the whares of a year or two 
older there would be in addition butter, eggs, and cheese, 
or bacon and vegetables. At least, the dear old "damper" 
and a quart pot of tea was sure as the sun. I earned my 
own living in these wanderings, and if there did not 
happen to be work at one place, there would be at another 
within a few miles. But I saved no money. However, 
when my wedding day came round, I had saved £10, and 
that took me to Whanganui, gave the parson, my dear old 
friend the Rev. Mr. Taylor, a trifle for his fee, and took 
me over the ferry and back home. I had nothing to pay 
for the jollification. As I have said, our lOhare was about 
two miles from where Marton stands — (it was afterwards 
called Willow-brook, and was owned by Mr. Lambert. — 
J.G.W.). — There was, of course, no Marton then (January 
7th, 1852). I had one neighbour, a grand old man, Mr. 

*Mr. McDonald says she was the daughter of Donald Cameron, 
called for distinction "Bane," of whom we may hear more when 
speaking of the Turakina side. 


Ross. He had been a barrister, but had retired from 
practice, and come to his farm with his old wife, a 
widowed daughter, three fine lads of sons, and one young 
daughter. Mr. Ross, to my great satisfaction and advan- 
tage, built his first whare within half-a-mile of mine, so 
that my wife and I had a pleasant time of it in the way 
of society. I had no other neighbour nearer than four or 
five miles, till Andy Green, an old whaler, came to settle 
down where Marton is now. 

''After 1852 settlers came into the district of Rangitikei 
pretty fast. Every previous settler's luhare was a freely- 
offered shelter for new-coming women and children till the 
men of the family got a whare up for themselves. There 
was an everlasting cry for roads or for anything else as 
there is now.* Certainly, after a time, say 1858-9, the want 
of schools became very urgent, but we picked up here 
and there girls or men who could do no manual labour, 
and with such we did the best we could until the children 
became more numerous, and we were able to get schools 
within reasonable distance of the settlers. Long after- 
wards came our present educational system. 

"It occurs to me that it may be said that the "back- 
blockers" in the time I write of had "open land" and 
that is the cause of the out-cry now about the roads. It 
is true the districts I have been mostly referring to were 
not heavy forest land, but they were heavy flax, toe-toe, 
and manuka scrub lands, intersected in all directions by 
boggy creeks. Roads are not a whit more necessary in 
the heaviest forest land than in the flats of Rangitikei 
or Manawatu. We did not require roads in my young 
days. For many years after settling on a back-block, wool 
was packed on horses or bullocks, or sheep were driven 
to be shorn at some place accessible to vehicles, and for 
years there was nothing for carts to do. Buggies and 
pairs were unknown. 

*Mr. McDonald once told me that he rode all the way from 
Wellington to attend the first meeting of settlers about the first road. 


"Certainly, we had one advantage over the heavy 
forest settlers, after the first year we could grow a patch 
of wheat, which we ground in steel mills. It was very 
laborious work, and many preferred to pack their flour. 
I packed everything I required, including flour, twenty- 
eight miles, from Scott's Ferry. At least it was 
twenty-eight miles by the track we had at that time to 
follow. I do not know now what is the distance by roads, 
which after many years were made. — (It is about twenty- 
two miles. — J.G.W.) When we settled the Rangitikei 
block, 1849-50, the wages of a farm hand, competent to 
do any sort of work on a farm, was £25 a year, and rations 
or food from the farm vfhare. I affirm, from personal 
experience, that farm hands could, and in many instances 
did, save more money, so as to buy a section of land for 
themselves, out of these wages than the same class of 
men are now able to do out of double or treble the annual 
wage. I got in 1852 £50 a year as 'Manager,' without 
supervision and with a wide discretion as to expenditure 
on a farm of 500 acres, and I considered, and so did all 
my mates, that I was getting what might properly be 
called a great salary, and not mere wages at all." 

I have quoted Mr. McDonald at length, for it gives, 
by one who has gone through the pioneering work, a 
graphic description of the life that men and women passed 
in those days. One more quotation as to their pleasures. 
He describes in another place how — **we had many a 
happy evening at Turakina in those days. The young 
fellows would come in from all around the district. In 
one or other of the whares a dance would be set up on the 
hard clay floor to the music of a comb and a piece of 
paper, together with a tin milk dish well beaten, tam- 
bourine fashion, till the elders drove us out, and we had 
to be home to our respective places in time for the 
morrow's work. I have been to balls since then, some of 
them to be called grand, but I have never enjoyed myself 
or seen others enjoy themselves at such functions as we 


did at these Turakina dances. But neither we nor our 


elders were troubled with Members of Parliament, or 
with Road Boards, County Councils, or anything at all of 
that kind, and our digestions were as good as moderate, 
open-air work and happy lives could make them." 

Again — "Take the worst-served back-blocks of the 
present day, and so far as conveniences are concerned 
their case is no worse than ours of the early days. I 
have seen a highly-educated gentlewoman and a homy- 
handed labourer trudging side by side round the coast 
to the Wairarapa, each with 601bs. of flour and sundry 
groceries and a blanket on their backs. I have seen 
another excellent Wairarapa settler trudging round the 
coast to Wellington, leading a mule, with two kegs of 
butter. Later on, wool was brought the whole length of 
the great valley on pack donkeys to the coast at Te Kopi, 
whence whaleboats brought the little bales to Wellington. 

"Up our coast of Wellington Province the first out- 
settlement was at Whanganui. 

For years the only communication by sea was by the 
little 'Catherine Johnston,' a ten-ton cutter. Of course, 
all the stock had to travel via the coast, with nine rivers 
to cross, including the Whanganui, without bridge or 
regular ferry. So late as 1852, when we were settling the 
district between Rangitikei and Turakina Rivers and 
inland, I had to pack everything I required except meat, 
through bush and swamp twenty-eight miles on a pack 
bullock. I had to go the same distance to post or receive 
a letter, and my neighbours had each and all to do the 
same. Well, we did not vex ourselves or the world with 
wailing or complaints, we saw no reason why we should 
do so ; on the contrary, we were 'happy as Larry.' " Then 
Mr. McDonald describes a dance, and apostrophises a 
friend thus: "Oh! Bob Knox, Bob Knox, friend and mate 
of my young days, you are now dead. But well do I 
remember your beating of that tin dish till knuckles 
bled." Truly, they led the "simple life." 



Another of the early settlers was Major Marshall, of 
* the 65th Kegiment, who took up land on the extreme N.E. 
comer of the block on the Rangitikei river. He came up 
first to look at the land before it was purchased in 1848. 
How he came to hear of the land was through a fine old 
Maori called Noatera Rauhihi, of Onepuhi, who was 
working on the road into the Wairarapa under the 
Major's brother-in-law, "William Swainson. This Maori 
said that the land was the best in the district, and advised 
his pak€ha boss to go and buy it. This was passed on to 
Major Marshall, who went up to see it and eventually 
bought it. On his way up and down he stopped with the 
Duries at Waikanae, where it will be remembered an out- 
post was stationed. On one of these occasions, while he 
was there, the great earthquake of 1848 occurred. — (The 
year book gives the date as October, 1848). He had as 
his companion on this journey Major Hamley (now General 
Hamley), a cousin of the writer of history, and well 
known as a military tactician. Mr. John Marshall, during 
his recent visit to London, says he visited him several 
times. "The old man is now in his ninety-first year and 
as bright and cheery an old chap as you would meeiti 
anywhere. He has a perfectly clear remembrance of 
these old days. He asked me about all the old hands on 
the West Coast, from 'Scotch Jock' at Paekakariki, to old 
Mrs. Scott at Rangitikei. " It is pleasant to think that he 
has not forgotten these old people. 

Mr. John Marshall does not remember when his uncle, 
William Swainson, first came up to Tutu Totara, but I 
think it must have been in 1853. Certainly "the Major," 
as everyone knew him, made a capital selection, for it is 
one of the finest and most picturesque farms in the neigh- 
bourhood. He went Home with his two boys, John and 
William, and they all experienced a bad railway accident, 
in which the Major was considerably hurt, but he 
recovered, and before he came out to settle married again, 
and, I think, came up to Rangitikei about 1861 ; WiUiam 

Major Marshall, 65th Regiment, 

of Tutu Totara. 

First visited Rangitikei in 1848 



Swainson, his brother-in-law, going over to Te Rakehou, 
as we shall see by-and-bye. Mr. Swainson was a great 
lover of flowers, and was known always as the greatest 
gardener in the district. He was a near neighbour of 
mine for many years, and the wattle trees now growing 
in my garden at Bulls were plants grown by him. His 
garden in the bush at Rakehou was a most grateful sight, 
full of flowers in bloom. He glways had some most 
beautiful verbenas. His father had been at one time in 
South America, and must have been a most accomplished 
man — (he was surveyor to the old New Zealand Land 
Company) — and I often used to see his beautiful pencil 
sketches of tropical flowers, which were only equalled by 
Miss North's, now housed in a special house in Kew 
Gardens. If Mr, Swainson 's are existent now they should 
be placed alongside hers. His garden at Tutu Totara was 
also his glory. If Mr. McDonald was loud in his praises 
of the hospitality and kindness of those who in the earlier 
days had only the comfort of a whare to offer, their mantle 
had certainly fallen upon the Marshalls at Tutu Totara. 
A kindlier and more hospitable man and wife could not 
have been found in Christendom. When their family and 
visitors outgrew the old house it was added to, bachelor 
quarters were provided for their guests, who flocked there 
and were welcome at all times. The number of young 
fellows who came out and found a second home in Tutu 
Totara must be legion. At one time there were a great 
many public school boys, who come out to settle, and they 
all seemed to gravitate at some time to "the Marshalls." 
Some of them are now getting on in years, but I am 
sure they look back to the days spent at Tutu Totara as 
the happiest days of their lives, and remember with 
grateful thankfulness the consideration and kindness 
shown them there. And many, as they go on and have 
children of their own growing up, can now see what an 
effect such a hospitable house had on the young men in 
the neighbourhood. On Sundays, instead of idling their 


time at home, or seeking a township for company, they 
were received with open arms into a well regulated home, 
where religious services were never forgotten, and where 
temperance in aU things was the rule. There was always 
an air of discipline about, for "the Major" had several 
old soldiers in his retinue, whose appearance gave that 
indefinable feeling that they had been drilled; and their 
respectful bearing showed that they had been taught. 
Major and Mrs. Marshall had a great influence on the 
district, always the same kindliness and patience, ready 
to comfort, advise or cheer. Of such is the Kingdom of 
Heaven. The Major died in 1891, some years after Mrs. 
Marshall. Mr. John Marshall tells me that the first entry 
of sheep he can find was in 1852, when three hundred 
merino ewes were bought from Clifford and Weld at about 
25/- to 30/-. 

The land down the Porewa was owned at one time by 
Dr. Anson. There was at one time a good deal of scrub 
upon it, and any young fellow who came as a cadet was 
put on to fell it. One of these, a tall strapping fellow, 
who had been sent out from London, was called Davis, 
and he found this work very uncongenial, and got on so 
slowly that the patch became known as ** Davis's quarter- 
acre section." 

On the other side of the Porewa and bounding 
Patikipapa, was a farm called Puketutu. It was originally 
taken up by a Mr, Schultze, who had a flour mill in the 
Ngahauranga Gorge (which may be standing, a delapi- 
dated ruin, to this day, for it was there the last time I 
passed) driven by the water of the stream. Mr. Schultze 
never resided on it, but had a man called Davidson there, 
who was either partner or manager. This man was 
evidently scared as to his safety, for he had over his door 
a regular man-trap, consisting of a big log of wood with 
harrow teeth in it, so that anyone opening the door 
without the "pass" might easily have been killed. Mr. 
Harry Death bought it from him about 1862, Mr. Marshall 


fixing the date from the fact that Davidson was there 
when the Marshall family came to live at Tutu Totara in 
that year. The farm was afterwards sold to Mr. 
Arkwright, and called "Overton." » 

The Hendersons, who afterwards had the flour mill at 
Marton, had a piece of land on the Porewa, but they sold 
it to Mr. Nesbit, and went up to the farm near Marton 

The land on the top of the hill on the Cliff line was 
some time in being taken up ; no doubt because there was 
a good deal of bush on it ; for in 1862 Mr. Marshall says 
it was a vacant section, but was soon after taken up by 
Mr. Aitkin and is still in the family. 

The next farm, also containing a good deal of bush, 
originally belonged to Major Marshall, who sold it to Mr. 
Gray, whose family retain it still. Mr. Gray was a school- 
master, and his wife was a native of Mauritius. 

The land beyond this and running up to the Marton 
road originally belonged to the Hammonds, and Mr. 
Mathew Hammond lived there till he sold to Mr. Galpin, 
who, in his turn, sold to Mr. A. R. Pitzherbert. The 
Bartletts, too, had land adjoining. On the other side of 
the road at Norwood comer, the land was taken up by 
the Jeff ersons (three brothers, John, Robert, and Ben), and 
Mr. Meads. They were related by marriage, and some of 
the family still hold the land. 

Mr. McBeth bought Dunsinane about 1853 — 1000 acrei^ 
at 10/- an acre. He, too, was a great planter, as the trees 
in Mr. Newman's bush testify. There are some beautiful 
specimen trees to be seen scattered through the natural 
bush. This farm was on the edge of what was known as 
"Fern Flat." The clay land, which predominated nearer 
the river, was covered with manuka scrub with a fringe 
of bush to the north. Dunsinane and further west was 
high fern and of a much lighter and porous character. It 
was looked upon as a very favoured spot when I first came 
to Rangitikei, and was mostly in the hands of Mr. Thomas 


Bryce, Mr. Alex. Milne, and Mr. Coombe. Beyond that 
was bush, and, as it is to be supposed, the open country in 
those days was most sought after. 

As Mr. Bryce 's career is an interesting one, I give it 
in the words of his brother, the Hon. John Bryce. 
"Thomas Bryce was landed from the 'Bengal Merchant' 
on Petone Beach on March 5th, 1840, being then twelve 
years old. He was born in Glasgow. He had a rough time 
of it in the bush of the Hutt Valley, where he went 
through the Maori War. He went to California in 1849, 
from there to Australia in 1852, mostly storekeeping in 
partnership with his brother-in-law Campbell. The three 
of them came back to Otago about 1864 and continued 
storekeeping till 1867 at Dunstan, where Campbell died. 
Brother and sister then came to Fern Flats, where I had 
taken up land for my brother with money he sent me for 
the purpose a year or two previously. I bought the land 
from the Government, but cannot give the year as all 
records of mine, and a good many of my brother's, too, 
were destroyed when my house was burnt in the Maori 
War. That particular piece of land was pointed out to me 
by A. Milne. It was the last vacant bit of Government 
land about the district. My brother did not come from 
Otago till long afterwards. Meantime I had a good deal 
of improvements made on the place, fences, fern burning, 
grass sowing, etc. Wilson Milne did most of the actual 
work for me. All this was in the olden times of long 

Mr. Bryce had about the first flock of Lincolns in the 
district, and had very fine sheep, well grown with heavy 
fleeces. He must have done very well with them. 

The Hon. John Bryce also furnishes me with a few 
words about the next neighbour, Mr. A. Milne. "The 
latter was also an old 'Hutt' settler, whose arrival there 
dated from 1842. I have a good general knowledge of his 
life and labour, but I am quite unable to give dates or 
particulars. I know he had to work for every sixpence he 


earned. The standard wage when he was able to get work 
was 2/6 for a long day's work, on condition that he was 
paid in cash and not in debentures. Times have changed. ' ' 

Mr. Milne was a very able, public-spirited man, and 
was one of the first representatives of Rangitikei in the 
Provincial Council, and also Chairman for many years of 
the Rangitikei Highway Board and County Council, and 
all the settlers spoke in the highest terms of his work on 
their behalf, as well as lauding his upright character. 

Mr. Coombe, as his name implies, was a Devonshire 
man, and he told me the last time I met him, as I sat next 
to him at the Hutt Club dinner, how he came to be so 
fond of horses. His father was a farmer and had quarries 
up in the Tors of Exmoor. The stone when it was quarried 
had to be carted to the farmhouses and towns, and this 
was the work Mr. Coombe used to do for his father. When 
he came to settle down horses were his hobby, and he had 
several entires which used to travel the district. He was 
a very substantial man in more ways than one, and was 
much in requisition as a Judge of Draughts at the Shows. 

Mr. Maunder, who was nearer Marton, bought his land 
from Peter Laing (so well known as a baker in 

I have already spoken of Cokeley and Moturumaruma. 
When old Mr. Ross died part of Cokeley was sold, and the 
land which Mr. Alex. McBeth's family owned was part 
of it. 

There was a considerable area of bush north of these 
settlers which was not at first taken up, Mr, Still for some 
time being the furthest up settler. Before I came the 
whole of it was settled, Mr. Wm. Galpin's house standing 
on about the last section to the north in that direction of 
the original Rangitikei purchase. 



Marton was sold by Messrs. FoUett, Signal, and Morris, 
and was, therefore, not a Government township. Richard 
and James Signal each bought sixty acre sections, and part 
of one section was sold to Mr. FoUett, and eventually the 
whole was cut up into sections and sold. What is now 
Marton consisted of three sections of land, I think of 60 
acres each, belonging to Robert Signal, Chas. Follett, and 
Tom and Richard Morris. The latter came with Mr. 
Cawood from Swan River, and bought a section 
from Government. From what I can gather Mr. Signal 
was the first to sell his, and the township that thus began 
was called "Tutaenui," and the settlement further up, to 
distinguish it from this, "Upper Tutaenui." The first 
hotel built was known as the "Travellers' Rest," which 
is now named "the Marton Hotel," and it was kept by 
a retired sergeant of the 65th Regiment named Mathews. 
The first store was opposite the "pub," and owned by 
Beavens Bros., Whanganui, and managed by Mr. Henry 
Lyon, who was afterwards a chemist in the township, and 
father of Mr. Lyon, the solicitor. When the coach came 
this way to Whanganui the horses were changed at "the 
Traveller's Rest," but when a Mr. Polgreen built the 
White Hart the coaches removed there. The Post Ofl&ce 
was then in charge of Mr. Henderson, at the Mill. After a 
time people were not satisfied with the name, and a public 
meeting was called so that a name could be selected, and 
Mr. Lyon moved that it be called Marton, after the town- 
ship of that name in Yorkshire where Captain Cook was 
born, and this was adopted. The land to the north seems 
to have been owned by Mr. Andy Green, who seems to have 


had something to do with many properties; it was after- 
wards sold through Peat and Alexander to Mr. W. Hair, 
who, after residing there a number of years, sold it and 
went up the coast. 

James Slight built about the first house outside Marton 
on the Whanganui road, in 1861. Where Mrs. Cash's 
house stands was owned at one time by Mr. Tom Wing, 
the next section being owned by an absentee, opposite 
this Mr. David Collins had a section. A man named 
Dickson owned what became Captain Johnston 's property, 
and Mr. Williamson purchased in the early sixties. 

Mr. Robt. K. Simpson, the present chairman of the 
County, after marrying Miss Grant, bought his present 
Bonny Glen property from a brother of Dr. Mussen, in 

THE 1868 ALARM. 

An Incident. A Letter to the "Bangitikei Advocate." 

"Sir, — You have had two accounts of the "Alarm" 
in Rangitikei in 1868. May I ask space for a third? The 
"alarm" was on the first Sunday in November, 1868. Just 
at early dawn that morning an orderly (Jack Regetand) 
galloped up to Tutu Totara with an urgent despatch to 
my father from Colonel Haultain, Defence Minister, then 
in Wanganui, saying that the Government had received 
warnings, which it was impossible to disregard, that as 
soon as the rebel natives crossed the Patea River there 
would be a general rising of the West Coast natives from 
Patea to Otaki, and authorising him to take whatever steps 
he deemed necessary for the protection of the Rangitikei- 
Manawatu settlers. My father woke me, and after telling 
me the news, which he did not credit, directed me to go 
at once to the Porewa Pa, where Utiku Potaka and some 
of his people were living, and find out if he had heard 
anything of the threatened rising. I found he knew 
nothing, and ridiculed the idea, saying it was all humbug. 


By the time I returned to the house my father had written 
out a general order warning settlers of possible immediate 
danger, and desiring them to assemble at stated 
points to throw up redoubts or fortify houses. 
All our men were sent in different directions with 
this order, with instructions for settlers to warn their 
neighbours, so in a very short time the whole district was 
alarmed. I was sent down the bank of the Rangitikei to 
Messrs. Thoms, Symond, Cockbum, Hammond, as far as 
Westoe, whence after breakfast, with Mr. and Mrs. Pox 
I went to Marton, and joined the working party, which 
had begun throwing up a redoubt where St. Stephen's 
Church now stands. All the neighbouring settlers were 
there and working hard with spade and shovel or cutting 
and carting fern for building up the earth wall. Before 
night it must have been half finished, and it was completed, 
except the block house, within the next two or three days. 
I remember the incident of the house catching fire and 
being burnt to the ground before any of those working at 
the redoubt could get to it. I think we all dropped our 
tools and ran towards the fire as soon as the fire was seen. 
Nothing could be done when we got there as it was a mass 
of flames. The fire was purely accidental, though, of 
course, in the excited state of men's minds at the time it 
was magnified outside as a beginning of hostilities. On 
the day following a redoubt was begun at York Farm. 
Its site was on the south side of the road, directly behind 
the large shed, and on the edge of the terrace overlooking 
the Rangitikei river. I worked there for some days, an(l 
later at another redoubt which was thrown up at the north 
comer of the cross roads at Dunsinane. Both have long 
since been levelled, and their sites furrowed by the plough. 
Redoubts or block houses were at the same time put up 
at Bulls, Parewanui, Foxton, etc., but of these I had no 
personal knowledge. The militia had been called out for 
active service about three months previously (compulsory 
service it was then for all between the ages of 16 and 60, 

Major Trafford, 

Koreromaiwaho in Major Trafford's time 


any shirkers were liable to imprisonment), bnt they were 
not all armed or equipped. — I am, etc., 

"Tutu Totara, November 27th, 1911." 

Before we turn to the Turakina district. Major Trafford 
might be mentioned, as his was a name well known in the 
district. He became owner of Koreromaiwaho some time in 
the fifties, after living in Wellington, where he took a 
leading part in the races in the early days, for he, too, 
seems to have been very fond of horses. He was in the 
same regiment as Major Marshall, the 65th (hikiti pip, the 
Maoris called it). It was fashionable in those days to 
wear a single eye-glass, and Major Trafford was in the 
fashion. The Maoris, therefore, called him "Karu Tahi," 
or "one-eyed." He kept open house, and there 
seems to have been "high jinks" going on there. 
"Whenever those who took part spoke of them, there was 
a merry twinkle of the eye, which denoted pleasurable 
thoughts of the good time they had in those days. I 
discreetly refrain from too close an enquiry. Trafford had 
some very valuable mares, "Sybil" being noted perhaps 
more than any, and some of the best horses of the present 
day have her blood in their veins. The old name of the 
place had a curious meaning. According to Mr. Stevens, 
it was what the Maoris called out when they wanted those 
inside a pa to come out and have a talk. But, in most 
cases, in "Colonialese" they wern't having any," because 
it was often a preliminary to a general massacre. Amongst 
those who lived there were Major Biggs (who was after- 
wards massacred at Poverty Bay), and Mr. and Mrs. 
Willie Fergusson. The latter came to Wellington in 1856, 
and they soon afterwards came via Scott's Ferry to take 
charge of the establishment. Later, when Major Trafford 
had bought a section across the river, they shifted there 
to look after it, and brought Miss Trafford with them. 
She, later, married Mr. Dundas, the surveyor, but both 
have been dead some time. 


The son, when I knew him, was a lithe, pleasant fellow, 
a good cricketer and rider, and much about Rangitikei. 
But he fell into evil days, and also died. After passing 
through the hands of Captain Jordon, who added to it 
by using his military scrip, Koreromaiwaho was purchased 
by Major "Willis in 1864, and a portion bought from Mr, 
Beamish, and another from the Hon. Mr. Petre, and the 
place was re-christened Woodendean. Major Willis had 
been Magistrate in the Wairarapa, and took over a 
portion of the district over which Dr. Buller had 
previously presided in Rangitikei and down the Coast to 
Otaki in 1865. When he first went up to Woodendean 
scab was rampant, and yet he sold fat wethers at 16/6 
to Lethbridge and Alexander. It was he who first brought 
Romney sheep into the district by purchasing some of 
Mr. Ludlam's sheep at the Hutt. He had some purebreds 
from which the flock was descended. These were dis- 
persed a few years ago, and some seven-eighth bred ewes. 
They never were crossed with any other breed from that 
year till they were sold : so that they were practically all 
pure when the flock book was started, but only the pure 
flock was entered. 

Another name which should be mentioned in this 
neighbourhood is Mr. Walter Tricker. He, too, was a 
65th man, and was bought out in Whanganui by Mr. 
McDonnell of the Hoe, where he stayed for a while, but 
drifted up to Mr. Campion, and, as has been mentioned, 
had a house by the cutting just on the north side of 
Raumai front gate. The place he bought, which was 
originally Brandon Hall, from Mr. Lambert, a carpenter, 
who built many of the houses about. Mr. Tricker was an 
exceptionally hard-working, trustworthy man, and had 
the misfortune to be suspected of causing the death of a 
neighbouring settler. He was tried, and, most unjustly, 
found guilty. The people were up in arms about it, for 
they believed him guiltless, and Archdeacon Stock proved 
to the authorities that it was impossible that he could 


have been implicated. Strangely enough, although the 
sentence was commuted, he was not liberated till some 
time after. Fortunately, a few of the foremost people of 
the district took the matter up later, and a free pardon 
was at last tardily granted to a perfectly innocent man. 
His farm is a monument to his industry to this day. 

The country at the back was now beginning to be 
settled, and Mr. A. de B. Brandon had some of what is 
now known as Brandon Hall, and Mr. Fitzherbert the 
front portion. When Mr. Bunny came out he bought this 
land from the above in 1855, and settled on it, but he had 
borrowed money from some one at Home. The place was 
put up to auction, and, as we have seen, Mr. Tricker 
bought part; Preston fell to Mr. Raynor; and further up 
Mr. McHardy bought a farm; the balance was bought in 
by Mr. Bewley, who had been sent out to look after the 
interests of the mortgagees. He added at the back by 
applying for what was then known as waste land. He 
in his turn had to hand it over to the Hon. John Johnston, 
whose family held it till it was again lately sold to Mr. 
James Bell, and then cut up into farms and is now a very 
prosperous settlement. 

With Mr. Bunny there came several families, the 
Crockers, Whales, and Emmens, who remained in the 
lower district for some time, but their descendants have 
now places of their own. 

Waitatapia seems to have been originally taken up 
by Thomas Tylee, who again sold it to Taylor and Watt, 
of Whanganui, who, together with Captain Campbell, of 
Wiritoa, and Captain Cameron, of Marangai, had it for 
some time, and the cattle running on it were looked after 
by Mr. T. U. McKenzie. It was sold to Mr. W. W. Taylor, 
a merchant in Wellington, about 1858, who added to it 
by buying Adam Keir's section in front, and in 1862 
taking up a considerable portion of the waste lands at the 
back. Later it fell into the hands of Mr. Taylor's son-in- 
law, Mr. J, T. Dalrymple, whose family still retain it. 


The remains of the famed Awamati Pa, of the Ngatiapa 
tribe, is still to be seen in the lake on this property. 
Whenever they were in dire strait, or pursued by the 
enemy, the Ngatiapas seem to have retired to this pa, 
which sheltered them from slaughter. 

The country still further back was used as a run by 
some people, and the Rosses had a run for some years 
about Lakes Alice and Otakipo. Mr. Alfred Ross told 
me they had a rare time after wild dogs, which were 
constantly annoying the sheep. 

Talking of Alfred Ross and wild dogs reminds me of 
an incident that befell me in connection with him. It was 
shortly after we had started the hounds in Rangitikei, 
and we were hunting up in the neighbourhood of Cokeley, 
on Mr. Death's place. I didn't know whose property we 
were on, as I was then unacquainted with the upper 
district. The hounds had got into the bush after a very 
good run, and got away towards the road, where there 
were some ewes and early lambs, and we had to go over 
and stop them. The fence, whether it has grown bigger 
because of the lapse of time or not I do not know, but 
my recollection of it is that it was the biggest fence I ever 
jumped; but it had to be got over, and Cyclops (a horse 
that Willie Mills bred, and a great jumper) got over all 
right. To my dismay I found the hounds had killed two 
or three lambs, so I got off and threw the carcases into a 
ditch under the gorse, so that the owner should not see, 
on the principle of "what the eye does not see the heart 
does not grieve for," and rode home through Marton. In 
the few minutes I was there I ran across Alfred Ross, and 
told him of my adventure. Judge my horror when I 
found later that Alfred Ross owned the lambs, and, he 
found, when he got home, that the hounds had been on to 
his farm. He, however, took it very well, for he was a 
genial soul, and forgave me. 

There were, no doubt, cattle running on aU the un- 
occupied land before "the run," as it was called, was 


taken up. For instance, Mr. James Bull (I have some 
notes from him, which I will quote later on) told me that 
in 1862, together with a mate of his, Howard, he took up 
land at 10/- an acre. So that it must have been many 
years before it all went. W. Barnard Rhodes took a great 
deal of it. Mr. Hickson, of Wellington, had some land at 
Lake Alice. Mr. Beamish, Manager for Mr. Rhodes, took 
Kilkern up, and so on until it was all gone. 

Mr. R. K. Simpson, then a young unmarried man, 
rented, with others, Mr. Hickson 's 1000 acres at Lake 
Alice, after the Rosses had given the run up, and also 
10,000 acres towards the coast from Government at i^d. 
an acre. In 1860, after having it about a couple of years. 
Captain Rhodes came along and bought nearly the whole 
of the run at 10/- an acre, so they gave up their lease of 
Mr. Hickson 's land, and moved on to Ruatangata, which 
they had meanwhile rented. 



When I commence to try to give some account of the 
pioneers at the Turakina end of the Rangitikei-Turakina 
Block, I confess, my mind misgives me. Very imperfectly 
I have been able, through the kindness of the old residents, 
to mention some of the early settlers, although I must 
have omitted many. I am afraid that my notes on the 
early Turakina settlers will be more imperfect still. The 
latter were mostly Highland people, who took up land 
there, and I am assured that in most cases the older people 
could only speak Gaelic, and this gave to many of them 
that peculiar — to me very attractive — accent which those 
who usually speak Gaelic have when they converse in 
English. My old friend, John Lees, used to chuckle over 
a story in connection with this when he told it. 

"When the war was going on, and the soldiers were 
stationed in Whanganui, many of the young oflBcers used 
frequently to visit the Highland people at Turakina for 
the sake of shooting, and when any of their hosts came to 
Whanganui, they always welcomed them at their quarters. 
One old gentleman was so visiting an officer, and, on his 
leaving, the officer asked his friend if he would like a book 
to take out with him to read, pointing to a number on the 
table. "Oh, ae, I maight," was the reply, and, taking the 
first that came to hand without looking at it, he was 
putting it in his pocket, when his host said apologetically, 

**I don't know, Mr. , whether you would care for 

that book. It is in French." It's al' the same in 
Tur-a-keen-a, " came the reply, and without more ado he 
bade good-bye, taking the book with him. I hope it 
wasn't a naughty French novel. 


Mr. Fraser has an excellent recollection of the first 
settlers, and gives me an account of those who came out 
in the same vessel, the "Blenheim." I leave out those 
who settled elsewhere. 

There were several Camerons, the first family being 
that of "Big John," already alluded to. He had several 
sons and two daughters — John, Angus, Duncan, Charles, 
Allen, Archie, and Dugald (who is still alive), and Ann 
(Mrs. Frank Baldwin), and Maisie (Mrs. Cumberland 
McDonell), it would therefore require what Mr. McDonald 
caUs a Whakapapa, or family tree, to be able to keep in 
touch with the descendants. 

A second family of Camerons, of Turakina, was that 
of Donald * ' Bane, ' ' whose family consisted of John, Allan, 
Duncan, Sandy, James, and George, Mrs. McLaughlan 
(afterwards Mrs. Brabazon), Mrs. Grant (Mrs. A. K. 
Simpson's mother), and Mrs. Alick McDonald, the latter 
of whom I have already given some account from her 
husband's MSS. 

Mrs. John McQuarrie was also a Cameron, but 
daughter of another brother, Hugh. She was afterwards 
Mrs. Perry. 

. Another family of "Blenheim" Camerons, that of 
Donald — better known as "Piper" Cameron — never came 
up to Rangitikei, but a daughter was Mrs. McDonell, of 
the Hoe, and one of the sons married a Miss Glasgow, 
from Turakina. Lately there was an account in "The 
Dominion" of the meeting of one of the sons, Mr. Duncan 
Cameron, of Pahau, and Mr. Donald Fraser, at the Cecil 
Hotel, and these two, who had been boys together on the 
"Blenheim," had many reminiscences to discuss. When 
I asked Mr. Fraser if I had got the names right, he said 
I had mixed the McDonells and Camerons up, and so I 
had, but as three McDonells married three Cameron girls, 
it is not to be wondered that a mere sassanach would 
find it difiicult to do otherwise. 



Mr. Alick McDonald says in his manuscript, "There 
were two settlers owning considerable areas of land 
among the first Turakina settlers; they were Captain 
Rhodes and Mr. James Wilson. They did not personally 
settle at first, but their cattle were managed by Mr, 
Beamish for the former, and Mr. G. McGregor for the 

The Captain Rhodes mentioned, who was more 
familiarly spoken of as "Barney" Rhodes, had the land 
near the mouth of the river called "The Plains," which 
is now in the hands of the Simpson Bros. Mr. Wilson 
was the father of Mr. Robert Wilson, so long and favour- 
ably known as manager for Heaton Park. Mr. James 
Wilson then owned 10,000 acres in the Valley, including 
Anne Bank. On the south side of the Makirikiri, beside 
Captain Rhodes, were Robert Glasgow and Alex. Grant. 
The Camerons were on the other side. 

In the township itself were Farrell 'Riley and Fox, 
the shoemaker. His cottage is still there, but now lacks 
the beautiful cactus which, when he was alive, used to 
look so brilliant when in flower, against the chimney. 
Then there were John Glasgow, Cluny McGregor, James 
Lowrie, Cameron and Simpson, afterwards on "Dalvey," 
where Mr. Harry Lethbridge now lives. In Bonny Glen 
there were John Gower, Francis Baldwin, James Stewart, 
Hempseed. R. K. Simpson was in the Glen later. One of 
the most familiar figures was "Charlie Cameron," who 
for long was in partnership with Mr. Alick Simpson. Mr. 
Cameron had * * got ' ' the Gaelic ; he died quite lately, over 
eighty years of age. A fine stamp of a hardy old High- 
lander. So necessary was it to speak Gaelic, that, when 
a clergyman was appointed, Mr. Ross was chosen because 
he could preach in that language, and one service was 
always in Gaelic. 

Although on the railway line, Turakina has never gone 
ahead like other townships, but is a very picturesque 
village, with many beautiful trees and hedges. The land 


lately has been further cut up into small farms, and 
dairying has increased greatly, so perhaps it will bloom 

Turakina will, however, never again have the same 
fascination for me. The old Highland people are all being 
replaced by ordinary Colonials — no doubt as good as their 
forefathers, but their tongue has lost the beautiful intona- 
tion and precision of those who "had the Gaelic." I 
have already said that many of them thought and read 
Gaelic, but although most of them were able to speak 
English, some never really mastered the intricacies of our 
idiom, and still more of the colloquialisms found in novels, 
but when read to them they followed the story, and 
especially the jokes, with the utmost glee. One of these 
fine old Highland gentlemen got in some way a hold of 
"Valentine Vox," which had in its day an immense 
popularity, but he failed to make head or tail of it. So 
he brought it to a friend, who, although a true Celt, had 
lived amongst sassanachs, and was able to follow and 
pronounce the slang terms which were frequent in the 
book. It was handed over with the statement, "Here's a 
pretty book, they say it is splendid," and by the light of 
a whale-oil lamp (the usual light) it was read out night 
after night, and often the audience would laugh until the 
tears ran down their cheeks, and the reading would go 
on amidst such ejaculations as "Man, man, isn't that 
splendid?" "Go on, Tom, go on give us some more." On 
one occasion a Turakinaite was asked by one of his officer 
friends "what work he liked best," and he replied 
without hesitation, "Tricker, Tricker is the best worker 
I know. He 's a splendid worker, Tricker — yes, man. ' ' So 
he was able to make himself understood if he did not 
understand, and not like the Highlander who went to 
Dundee and couldn't find anyone who could teU where to 
find "te shirra tepot," until it was discovered by one more 
versed in Highland ways than others, that he meant the 
Sheriff Deputy. 


One of the first things that new settlers think of is a 
medical attendant, but in this ease there was a Doctor in 
the district before the people settled in it. In the Rev. 
Mr. Taylor's diary, he has the following entry on June 
30th, 1848: — "We got a canoe at the Rangitikei, and 
there I found a Dr. Chamberlain living, who gave me a 
pressing invitation to stay the night, but, as he was living 
with a native woman, I felt, as a minister, I could not 
countenance this, and so pushed on to Puke Puke." The 
latter place is now all settled and drained, but at one 
time there were a number of natives living about these 
lakes. This is the only mention I have ever come across 
of this Dr. Chamberlain, and he seems to have faded into 
eternity without leaving any footprints. 

The next doctor was named Roer, and he lived at 
"Wink 's, near the mouth of the river, but he was somewhat 
unsteady, and, in crossing the Wangaehu one day, he 
was drowned. The next medical man who settled in the 
district was Dr. Tuke. Curiously enough, I had never 
heard of him as a resident doctor until I began to collect 
these notes. Shortly after hearing the name, I noticed in 
the paper that Sir John Batty Tuke was in the Colony 
on a visit to renew his acquaintance with New Zealand 
after a number of years. Of course, I had known his 
name, as member of the House of Commons for my old 
University (Edinburgh), but never connected him as a. 
Rangitikei man. I had the opportunity of being intro- 
duced by Dr. Martin, at Palmerston, and I found he was 
coming over to see the scenes he so vividly remembered. 
So I offered to show him round. I found him hale and 
hearty, a genial companion, who smoked, like Dr. 
Featherston, continually cheroot after cheroot. He told 
me he came up to Rangitikei in 1857, having just married 
before he left England, and Captain Daniel, being anxious 
to get a medical man to reside in the district, offered him 
twenty acres of land if he (Dr. Tuke) would reside on it. 
This he agreed to do, and he brought his wife up to 


Scott's, and stayed there while he built the house. The 
land given and the house built was the same that Dr. Curl 
lived in for so long, and a portion of it is still standing. 
Dr. Tuke built the house himself with the assistance of 
John Lambert, who had already been building a number 
of houses in the district, and amongst them Killeymoon. 
The house at "Manuka Bush," as it was then called, was 
mostly of slabs, there were four rooms, kitchen, bedroom, 
sitting and spare bedroom. When he came over, I took 
Sir John to see this old house, and, when we got there, 
he looked round and said "But the house I built had slab 
walls," — turning the corner, we found one of the walls 
intact, as he had built it over fifty years ago. On going 
inside he looked round and seemed to hesitate. "Ah," he 
said, "that was the spare bedroom, I remember; but for 
the life of me I can't remember where the kitchen was." 
I suggested that perhaps he had nothing to do with the 
kitchen. "Hadn't I just, hadn't I to get up, light the 
fire, go and get the cow in and milk her when my wife was 
cooking the breakfast." He remembered, too, that there 
was in the creek a pool at his back door that he used to 
bathe in; also that "the whole country around was like a 
waving prairie — ^no manuka scrub, but the land was 
mostly covered with flax, toe-toe, and fern. ' ' Near by his 
house, in what is now Mrs. Roache's paddock, there was 
a dense and almost impenetrable mass of koromiko, and 
sometimes when the creek was up, he had to wade through 
the blind creek, which crosses the lane now running to 
the house, and has a footbridge for passengers over it. 
Being close to Koreromaiwaho, he often went there when 
Major Trafford had it. It was a bachelor's establishment 
with a Maori housekeeper. Dr. Tuke found living there 
with Major Trafford two very congenial souls, Biggs and 
Sam Deighton. I asked him about Biggs, for there was a 
tradition, when I came, that he was a very plucky fellow, 
and used to swim the river no matter what water there 
was in it when he later lived at Mingiroa. If there hap- 


pened to be an English mail in he had to go to Bulls to 
get it. "Yes," the doctor said, ** Biggs was a plucky 
fellow. He was the best horseman I ever saw, but strange 
to say, I saw him thrown twice when he got on 'Sybil,' a 
mare that Trafford won a lot of races with afterwards. 
I asked him to let me try, and she moved away when I 
got on, without a buck in her. I often rode her after that 
and she was a grand mare." Then he went on to say 
that "we had a conspiracy, Trafford, Daniel, Blewitt, 
Swainson, and myself, to buy the land from the natives 
on the other side of the river, and we rode all over it 
down to Alick McDonald's, but Grey wouldn't give us a 
title." I told him the same men afterwards got a lease 
of it from the natives, and that I had bought Daniel out. 

Although somewhat older than myself, the names of 
the professors and surgeons he knew in Edinburgh were 
familiar to me, and I found that Sir John had been house 
surgeon under Syme, who was the crack surgeon in my 
day, and was Lister's first pupil. I asked him if in those 
days Lord Lister had any inkling of his antiseptic treat- 
ment in operations. His reply was "Yes, he had glim- 
merings. Talking one night, he said, let us change the 
subject and go down and look at a case in the hospital 
which I operated on," he had made an incision for an 
aneurism. The wound was quite healthy, and Lister 
said, "I am trying to find out how to be sure that every 
wound will be as clean as that." This occupied our 
conversation till we had whizzed up to Westoe and down 
the avenue — for we were in a motor. He remembered the 
country quite well, but said that they had no road then 
down the hill, and they had to go down a very steep 
track down the cliff to "Westoe, where Fox was then living, 
and also the Hammonds at York Farm. 

He also pointed out where they used to cross the river 
— somewhere near the present railway bridge — ^to go over 
what was then a "terra incognita," the present country 
about Halcombe. He remembered that in the other direc- 


tion he used to ride up to Otakipo, where the Rosses then 
had a run, and said he had made a trip up the river a 
long way with Coouts Crawford, and had been immor- 
talized in that gentleman's book (which, later, I shall 
have occasion to quote from.) 

In 1859 he had an opportunity of being attached to the 
65th Regiment, then stationed at Whanganui, and he then 
left Rangitikei. "Ah," he said, "looking at the old house, 
and again when we went to look at the site of the Korero- 
maiwaho house, "I spent many happy days there." 

In 1863 he had an opportunity of a good position at 
Home, but he did not like leaving the Regiment, as they 
wanted him when the war was going on. The Colonel 
said, however, "Why should you stay, perhaps to be shot 
in a ditch in this out-of-the-way place," and so he went 
Home with Major Trafford, who was invalided because 
of having locomotor ataxi (the Doctor had got him a 
good deal better). Trafford married in England, and 
died only five years ago, — "a fine, straight gentleman," 
was Dr. Tuke's verdict. 

During our conversation he paid a very high compli- 
ment to our medical men in New Zealand whom he had 
heard at the Conference, and said those he had met were 
of a high class. He also thought highly of the hospital in 
Palmerston North, which he visited, and where he saw 
several operations, saying the discipline of the matron and 
nurses, and the work of the surgeons was of a high 

Having been a politician for a number of years, he had 
naturally looked with interest on the politics of the 
Colony, and had considered that we were altogether over- 
burdened with debt; but he told me "that when I came 
over Mount Stewart, and saw, what fifty years ago I knew 
as an uninhabited waste of fern, flax, toe-toe, swamp, and 
bush, and realised that the whole of the vast area seen 
from that point was in happy homesteads of 200 acres, I 
am not so sure that New Zealand had not done wisely in 


borrowing money to open up such a country." He also 
said that we should turn out attention to afforestation, 
in which I cordially agreed with him. 

Next day I happened to be in Whanganui at the races 
(Sir John had gone to stay with Dr. Wilson there), and 
between the races I was sitting next to Mr, James Bull, 
and asked him if he remembered Dr. Tuke. "Don't I," 
he replied, ''Wasn't he doctor on the ship I came out in, 
the * Indian Queen. ' ' ' And here were two men, who came 
out in the same ship in 1857, happening to be visiting the 
same town after all these years. Mr. Bull told me he well 
remembered that Mrs. Scott told him how ill Mrs. Tuke 
had been when she stayed with her, and it was thought 
that if it had not been for Mrs. Scott's excellent nursing 
both mother and child would have died. 

When Dr. Tuke left Rangitikei Dr. Curl took up his 
practice, and for many years was the only doctor for 
many miles around. 



No sketch of these early times would be complete 
without some mention of Mr. James Bull. For many years 
he was the business life of the whole of the lower Rangi* 
tikei, and was the original settler from whom the present 
township took its name. I dragged from him (for he gave 
it reluctantly, and said nobody would care to know about 
him, though in this I assured him he was quite mistaken), 
that he was born in 1831 in Chelsea, so that, though hale 
and hearty, he was nearly eighty years old when last here. 
His trade was that of a carpenter, and one and all agreed 
that he was a first-class tradesman. He was apprenticed 
to Gazell and Peto, who were great builders in London. 
Mr. Bull had the opportunity of some office work when 
with them, which must have stood him in good stead when 
he entered business himself. Gazell and Peto were the 
contractors for the present Houses of Parliament at 
Westminster, and Mr. Bull did a good deal of work at the 
House of Commons. One day, when he and John Lees 
were there listening to a debate, Mr. Bull pointed out to 
his friend the panelling he had himself done, the last 
work before leaving for New Zealand. There is another 
piece of work which to this day stands to his credit in a 
public place. The same firm had to build a pavilion at 
Windsor Station for the Queen when she took train there, 
and Mr. Bull was given some intricate panelling to 
finish in the bay window, although at the time, he could 
scarcely be out of his teens. He could not remember what 
induced him to come out here, but he supposes it must 
have been the spirit of unrest which is common to most 
youths of an adventurous character. He landed, as has 


already been stated, in Wellington, in 1857, and, strange 
to say, the first work he had to do was work on the 
Provincial Government Buildings in Wellington, where 
he made the sashes and doors. After some time, while 
working there with a mate called Dick Howard, Fred. 
O'Donnell came to Wellington to engage carpenters to 
help him to build a house for Mr. Scott at the ferry. 
O'Donnell, in fact, was able to build a house, but it was 
another thing to make sashes and doors, and required a 
training he lacked. So, about the end of 1858, James Bull 
and his mate, Dick Howard, started to walk up the coast. 
The first place they stopped at was Paekakariki, at which 
place the accommodation house was kept by Dick 
Deighton. Mr. Bull remembers seeing Major Trafford 
with his eyeglass, and recalled a cheeky answer he made 
when the Major asked "what he was." They came up 
to the Ferry and started what was then thought the 
largest known house, to replace the old accommodation 
house which had done duty for ten years. The timber 
was cut by hand in the Parawanui bush called Tawaroa. 
O'Donnell ("Blue Nose" he was called because he came 
from Nova Scotia) mated with a native woman, and there 
were several descendants of his in New Zealand, but after 
some years he left for America, and has not been heard 
of since. 

After the Scott's house was finished, Mr. BuU looked 
round for other work in the district, and was soon drawn 
into business of a more extended character, for people not 
only wanted houses, but they wanted timber to build 
them with. He, therefore, came up the river to be near 
the bush. The natives agreed to allow him to cut timber 
on the "Maori Gardens" on the Rangitikei Flat near the 
present bridge. Mr. Bull says when he went to the edge 
of the cliff and looked over this land it was like Paradise, 
with all its beautiful New Zealand trees in bloom, and, 
although he admired it beyond measure, he very soon had 
the sawyers at work cutting timber out of the great 


totara trees, whose stumps still show where they stood; 
mighty monarehs of the forest. Not only did he find it 
difficult to get timber cut for himself, but he also found 
that the settlers around were always coming to him, and, 
as a favour, asking him for a "bit of timber." This made 
him think of starting a mill. 

Meanwhile, he had leased a piece of land at Bulls from 
Captain Daniel, about five acres, just where the timber 
yard now is in connection with Jones and McGregor's 
store, and proceeded to build himself a whare^ which was 
soon converted into a store. 

Major Durie had been appointed Resident Magistrate 
in Whanganui, and, in order to dispense justice, Mr. Bull 
built alongside the store a "Whare Whakawa" or Court 
House, and behind this the mill was built. The bush around 
was cut up, and when he finished this he went to the lower 
flat. The logs were dragged up a steep cutting near the 
edge of the cliff beyond the flour mill. All trace of this 
track is now nearly lost, but it must have been a serious 
undertaking to get a tramway down. I could not find 
out who were the workmen at the mill, except two 
splendid sawyers, Joe Dunn and Ned Hall, who seemed to 
be with him for a long time. Afterwards Mr. David 
Murray, who later had a foundry in Whanganui, was his 
engineer. He had scarcely got started in his work when 
one day Major Durie said that war had broken out up 
the coast, and he had better leave. However, Mr. Bull 
was not made that way, and replied that he intended to 
stop where he was, and **if there was any fighting to be 
done he could fight too." 

The Maoris were at this time very disturbed, many of 
them going up the coast to take a hand, for we have seen 
that many of the Maoris belonged to other tribes up the 
coast. Big Hori has already been alluded to. He lived 
just across the river, and used to sell maize to Mr. Bull. 
One day he brought a sack of maize over and sold it as 
usual. The mouth of the bag had been tied with a piece 


of flax, and had been opened to look at the sample. Mr. 
Bull, in tying it up again, pulled at each end with both 
hands in too vigorous a manner, and the flax broke 
suddenly and his hand hit Big Hori in the mouth. This 
was too much for the big feUow, who towered above Mr. 
Bull, and, with a savage look, he was just going to knock 
him down when some impulse restrained him, but Mr. 
Bull avers that there wasn't the slightest reason why he 
should have desisted from knocking him on the head. 

In the calm, frosty weather, the notes of a bugle could 
be plainly heard as someone practised the calls of the 
military. This was the bugle which was taken from the 
little bugler boy at the Hutt when he was struck down for 
sounding an alarm. In some way Big Hori had got it, 
and the Maoris remember it quite well, though whether 
Hori was the man who killed the boy I could not find out. 
However, he boasted of having killed three pakehas in the 
Hutt, including one called Rush, whose dog was brought 
up by Mr. Fraser when he came up the coast. At any rate 
the bugle had somehow come into his possession. Hori 
also was with Rangihaeata when he fought the English 
soldiers at Horokiwi, where several men were killed and 
laid by their comrades in the little cemetery there, on 
what is now Mr. Blackie's property. The place is well 
cared for, and is surrounded by a hawthorn hedge. 

It can easily be imagined that the handful of settlers 
felt very insecure amidst a big population of Maoris, 
some of whom were most unfriendly, and, although there 
were many scares, nothing happened, and things went 
peacefully on. The settlers had all to be armed, and had 
to turn out regularly to drill. A block house was built 
on the edge of the cliff, where Zion Square is now, in fact, 
one of the houses is the block house itself converted. A 
fortification was thrown up where the inhabitants could 
retire to, the remains of which are still visible in Di*. 
Watson's garden. Fortunately, it was never really 


The river at that time ran right from the cemetery 
corner, hugging the cli£f closely, until it shot across to the 
opposite side below Mr. Flower's mill, and a big willow 
tree near the present butts was planted on the Ohine- 
puiawe side by old Harry Rewiti when a young man. So 
that the river then ran between the willow tree and the 
cliff. Across the river there were a number of Maoris, 
but they were mostly friendly to the pakeha. 

The young men of the district formed themselves into 
a fine cavalry corps under Pennington Richardson (he 
married one of the aforesaid Fred. O'Donnell's daughters, 
and had a son, who was afterwards sent Home on Capt. 
Richardson's death to live with his grandparents, but I 
never heard what became of him), and although the corps 
itself was not in action, many members of the troop were 
in action further up the Coast. 

One of the early settlers in Bulls was Mr. Alick Cock- 
bum, who had lived with his father at Westoe. He was 
a shoemaker by trade, and Mr. Bull built the house which 
stands back from the road — close to the blacksmith's 
shop — opposite the Clifton Hotel — ^the latter used to be 
called the Coach and Horses, and the coaches for 
Whanganui used to start from there — this must have been 
about '62 or '63. Mr. Cockbum found the house too 
small to work at his trade as well as being a dwelling- 
house, and he built the workshop further up the road 
opposite the present town board office — ^this originally 
was the Courthouse and police station — which Mr. Cock- 
bum afterwards disposed of to Mr. Fagan, when he went 
to live in Sandon. 

Somewhere about 1862 Mr. Bull and his mate, Howard, 
bought a hundred acres from the Government at Pukepapa 
Hill, and there were several crops grown on it by one 
called Rolf; but the land afterwards became Mr. 
Howard's, who died there in his old friend's arms. The 
land was purchased for 10/- an acre. 


During all this time settlers were coming into the dis- 
trict, and Mr. Bull soon started a carrying business, and 
began to send timber into Wanganui and bring goods out. 
Dan Coughlin and Billy Poad were two of the drivers, and 
their teams were as fine as any I have ever seen. Mi*. 
Bull, although not brought up in the country, must have 
had a natural eye for a horse, for there wasn't a bad one 
amongst them, and, having good men to work them and 
never stinting the feed, they were always in good fettle 
and did their work well. Mr. Charles Bull came later 
and joined his brother in business; and resided for many 
years in the township, till he went to live at Aorangi. 
When the Pukapukatea bush was cut out Mr. James Bull 
acquired the land from the Maoris, and soon had a fine 
farm, which was called Pukenui, after a trig on the 
property, and it was managed by Mr. W. Mills, who had 
long been managing the adjoining run for Mr. Daniels. 

This property was sold to the Government by Mr. Bull, 
and is now the prosperous settlement of Ohakia. 

The races in Bulls were first held in 1859 on the same 
course (slightly altered) that is now in the hands of the 
Kangitikei Jockey Club. 



While there was great uncertainty as to whether the 
Maoris would come as far south as Rangitikei, in their 
attack upon the Pakehas, the militia had been called out 
and were drilled at regular intervals — some at Lower 
Rangitikei and some at Bulls. Every able-bodied man had 
to attend. Drill instructors had been appointed, and 
Major Marshall had charge of the district, having retired 
from the Army and settled on his property, as we have 
seen, at Tutu Totara. One of the drill days appointed was 
Friday, the 28th day of August, 1863. Apparently there 
was to be a cavalry drill that day at Bulls, and Mr, J. W. 
Marshall recollects quite well riding down with his father, 
although then but a lad. On the previous day one of the 
settlers, named Robert S. Rayner, living at Preston, just 
beyond the Tutaenui, had sold some cattle to Thos. 
Dougherty, a buyer of fat cattle for the Dunedin and West- 
land markets. In all £200 had been paid by Dougherty to 
Rayner, and the latter when alone with Mr Bull (who was 
Postmaster at the time) enclosed the money in an 
envelope, registered it, and posted it to Wellington. 
Rayner left the township about ten or eleven o'clock and 
was never seen alive by anyone afterwards. He had been 
speaking to Russell, the Cavalry Instructor, the night 
before, and had said at parting he would be down at drill 
at ten o'clock next day. It was noticed, however, that he 
did not attend the parade, although he was usually a 
regular attendant. It was thought that perhaps he had 
gone to Wellington to see his wife, who had gone back 
to her relations there, fearing a Maori outbreak. The 


Lower Rangitikei people had stayed in their houses, as 
they were fairly close together. Duncan Fraser had been 
killed in an accident in Whanganui, and Mrs. Campion, 
his sister, had been into town in consequence. Mr. Tricker 
at that time had sent his wife away to Whanganui, and 
had ridden out again with Mrs. Campion on the night of 
Thursday, 27th August, staying at the Campions as had 
been his wont. Old Mr. Whale was working for Captain 
Daniel at the time, and from his house, which was quite 
close to the stable, at what is now Killeymoon, he could 
see Preston quite well, and used to look every day to see 
if there was smoke rising at Rayner's, who was always an 
early man. Whale used to call out to his sons, "Get up, 
boys, Rayner 's up, for I see his smoke. ' ' He noticed there 
was no smoke about on the morning of Friday, the 28th 
August, but thought Rayner must be away. A few days 
passed, and some people had gone up to the house and 
found things in disorder — which they thought peculiar, 
for Rayner was a very tidy man — but no signs of the 
missing man. Whale, to set his mind at rest, rode to 
Scott's Ferry to ask if Rayner had crossed. Finding that 
he had not, he determined to make a more careful search. 
With him was working a Thomas Wise, a deaf and dumb 
man, whom he had brought out from Newbury, Berkshire, 
with the family. He went by the name of "Dummy." 
Whale and his son, George, and "Dummy" went up to 
Preston, searched the Tutaenui Creek, and several creeks 
on the flat below the house, but no sign could be found 
of the missing man. Just at the back, to the west of the 
house, was another small blind creek, and walking along 
this creek (Whale being on the west side and the other 
two on that nearest the house). Whale thought he saw a 
bit of cloth sticking out under a board at the bottom of 
the creek, where some gravel had been excavated, and 
also some flies going in and out of a hole under the board. 
He called out to his son George to tell "Dummy" to look 
under the board, and when he did so he uncovered the 


body of Rayner. Having ascertained this, they went down 
and told Mr. Bull (who had, with others, also been 
making a fruitless search) that they had found the body, 
and it was conveyed to a house of Mr. Bull's in the town- 
ship, called a wharewhakawa, which was used as a Court- 
house. Naturally, in such a small community, and with a 
scare about a Maori outbreak, this terrible event struck 
terror into the hearts of even the bravest. There had been 
a half-caste and a Maori boy working for Rayner, but they 
had disappeared. Mr. John Marshall remembers that the 
half-caste, Hamilton, had come up that Friday and had 
ridden through what is now Overton, and afterwards 
crossed the river to the Onepuhi pa. As soon as the body 
was found, a warrant was issued to arrest the two lads 
(Hamilton was about sixteen, and the other Maori boy, 
Hoani Tawhira, some years younger). Mr. Halcombe 
went up to the Hou-hou with a party of settlers, and 
brought them back to Bulls, and they were lodged 
together in a house behind Mr. Bull 's store. Dr. Curl was 
coroner, and held an inquest. Dr. Davis, of the 57th 
Regiment, then stationed at Whanganui, came out and 
gave evidence that there was a wound on the skull about 
four inches long, made as if with the blunt edge of a 
spade. The doctor "found a depressed fracture of the 
skull about the size of a fourpenny bit. I found the inner 
table fractured to a more serious extent. The blow would 
have stunned a person, and might have been ultimately 
dangerous. ' ' Then he went on to say that he found three 
bullet wounds in various parts of the body. Hamilton and 
the Maori boy stoutly denied any knowledge of the 
murder. There must have been some Maoris on the jury 
for one asked "Is there any person who has had .1 
quarrel with Rayner?" It was known that Trieker had 
been sentenced to two years' imprisonment for shooting 
a heifer belonging to Rayner. Trieker had some land 
next to Preston, and at the back there was a large 
run known as Rhodes 's run, Brandon Hall run, and 



Campion run, on which were a number of stray cattle. 
When beef was wanted they went out, shot a beast, and 
brought it in in a bullock dray. Although the heifer 
proved to have Rayner's brand on it it was easy to 
make a mistake in such rough country. The query natur- 
ally brought the old story up, and that Trieker had used 
some veiled threats. At the inquest, then, this was 
mentioned, and Trieker was arrested. The coroner seems 
to have conducted the inquest in a somewhat off-hand and 
arbitrary manner, for the judge, at the trial later on, made 
some severe comments on the coroner's actions. Trieker 
was accordingly lodged for the night. There was sufficient 
evidence to show that in all probability the murder was 
committed on the Thursday night. Russell, the drill 
instructor, heard three shots fired from the direction of 
his house, about three-quarters of an hour after Rayner 
left the township. Thomas Scott, Jun., also stated he 
heard the three shots at a like time, and a man named 
Nelson, who was working for Mr. Cockburn, corroborated 
this. When, therefore, it was proven that Trieker had 
ridden out from Whanganui on the same Thursday night 
and slept at Campions, and the time all accounted for, he 
was at once acquitted, and an open verdict was declared. 
This ended the matter for the time being, but the 
Grovernment offered a reward of £250 to anyone who would 
give such information as would clear up the mystery. 
It was stated that Rayner had feared attack by Maoris 
and that there had been strange Maoris in the district, 
but no evidence was adduced that they were about on the 
Thursday night. The settlers also said that they would 
give a like amount to bring the culprit to justice. 

Some time after this Mr. John Marshall recollects quite 
well seeing Napia Taratoa (not the old chief who 
befriended the pakeha^, but a son) coming up and having 
a long talk with Hamilton, who was then working at 
Tutu Totara. After this they both rode away to 
Whanganui. Hamilton then made a statement diametric- 


ally opposed to his sworn evidence at the inquest. One 
or other of these statements must have been false. Sir 
William Fox examined him at some length, but could not 
shake his evidence. It is, however, much easier for a 
Maori who knows English to answer questions put by 
counsel; in other words, if he has to concoct answers he 
has time to think and weigh his answer while the question 
is being translated into Maori. He now swore that he 
had got up before sunrise, which was at that time of year 
about half-past six, had caught his horse and ridden into 
Bulls and called at the house of his sister for some clothes, 
had then gone back to Rayner's, and found Rayner in the 
kitchen preparing breakfast (yet Whale stated there was 
no smoke from Rayner's chimney that morning), 
Hamilton then went out and milked two cows. He says, 
*I may have taken an hour." That was, of course, absurd, 
because he claims to have been a good milker, but, as will 
be noticed later, he wanted to make the time as late in the 
day as possible. He then went in to breakfast, and Rayner 
went outside, and the half-caste was startled to hear a 
shot fired, then another and another. When he went 
outside he saw Tricker standing with a pistol in his hand 
and Rayner lying on the ground. At this, he ran away, 
but Tricker ran after him with an outstretched pistol, 
saying he would shoot him if he did not return and help 
him to bury the body. This he did. He described how 
Tricker tied several pieces of flax to the legs, presumably 
to drag the body to the hole made to receive it in the creek 
a few yards off. Hamilton described how he stood on the 
bank and shovelled some earth on the body. Tricker then 
cautioned him if he ever told anyone about what he had 
seen that they would both be hung. Upon this statement 
being sworn before Major Durie, he issued a warrant to 
arrest Tricker, who was taken to Whanganui, and from 
there he was committed for trial to Wellington. 

It was not till June the following year, however, that 
the trial took place before Mr. Justice Johnston. None of 


the people in Rangitikei ever thought that Tricker was 
guilty, and suspicion fell on others, but that, too, seems 
to be quite ungrounded. Many Rangitikei witnesses went 
to Wellington to give evidence, for the defence was that 
Tricker had that day ridden down to Scott's Ferry to 
purchase some clothes, and had been seen all along the 
road, and had been at Eraser's at eleven o'clock, when 
an infantry drill had been called but did not take place. 

Evidence was given for the prosecution by Hamilton 
(whom the issue of the **N.Z. Advertiser" of June 11th, 
1864, calls the "perjured half-caste"), who again stated 
that Tricker had murdered Rayner in the morning of 
Friday, the 28th August. There were several discrepan- 
cies in his evidence from that which he had given at the 
inquest, but his main evidence was not shaken, although 
the report says he often seemed puzzled about his 
answers in cross-examination. The Maori boy, Hoani, 
who was wearing a pair of Rayner 's boots, which Mr. 
Cockburn had just made for him, when he was arrested, 
was not called. He must have been at Otaki or in the 
neighbourhood, for Dr. Hewson, who lived there, gave a 
certificate that unless he was fetched in a trap he could 
not attend the Court. 

Several witnesses swore that on the Thursday night 
they heard three shots fired about eleven o'clock, and all 
the residents seemed to agree that there was a most 
unusual barking of dogs, which continued from about 
twelve o'clock or so onwards. 

It was also proved that Tricker left Campion's about 
6.30 on this eventful Friday morning, that he passed 
Brookie's at 6.45 (the sun well up as Mr. Brookie described 
the time) and that he arrived at Scott's Ferry at 7.30. 
(Scott said ten minutes to seven, but this must have been 
a mistake, because Tricker passed Arthur Amon and talked 
about a fence at 7.25, but, of course, clocks, as now, in the 
back country, are subject to great variation). Here he 
stayed for some time, about an hour Mr. Scott thought. 


who gave him some letters to deliver to Wheeler and 
"Winks, both of whom lived near the road. Wheeler 
deposed that the letters were delivered at nine o'clock, 
and that then Tricker said he "was in no hurry." The 
next person who saw him was Mr. Winks, who lived five 
miles and fifty chains from Scott 's, and who stated it was 
9.50 when Tricker came there. The prosecuting counsel 
sought to show that it was during the time between 
Tricker 's leaving Wheeler's and arriving at Winks' that 
he had ridden to Rayner's, murdered him, buried him, 
and returned to Winks' by 9.50. By taking Scott's time 
as correct, and putting the time he left Wheeler's at 8.40 
this allowed seventy minutes in all to do what was 
suggested. Those who know the district know that this 
is impossible. He could not have gone by the road for he 
would have been seen. The evidence as to distance was 
given by Mr. Knowles, a surveyor, who was not a resident, 
and who stated that there was a short cut to Rayner's not 
necessitating the passing of any house except Tricker 's 
own. It was not, however, stated that this necessitated the 
crossing of a swamp, which during dry years in summer 
was known to be passable, but only then. Yet the time 
of the year was the beginning of spring, 28th August, 
when all the swamps were full and impassable. Even if 
it were passable it would take longer than by the road. 
Nor did the evidence state that Tricker was riding a 
young horse called "Maraku," a green colt, said to be 
two and a half years' old. The only other way possible, 
and really the only way he could have gone, was round 
by the Rotoarua ''eel cuts," which the Maoris had at the 
outlet of the swamp (a stream forming in which the over- 
flow ran out to the sea), for a horseman had to go round 
the swamp. Taking the point where anyone travelling 
that way on the main road must leave it to go to the ' ' eel 
cuts," on account of the bush close to Wheeler's, a direct 
line to the "eel cuts" was found to be four miles sixty 
chains, and from there to Rayner's (both as the crow flies) 


six miles sixty chains. This evidence was not given at the 
trial but collected afterwards by Archdeacon Stock. The 
"eel cuts" were somewhere near Sandridge, and then the 
track must have wound in among the sandhills across to 
Titoki Flat, round the base of Rangitoto Hill, through 
Brandon Hall, and so on to Rayner's. No one knowing this 
track can imagine it possible to ride there and back even 
in the time, save on a first-class horse going as fast as it 
could, owing to the roughness of the track. The track 
across the swamp before it was drained was, according to 
Mr. Fraser, impassable at the time. Even now I have been 
bogged passing over the drained swamp close to Pukehou 
boundary. Constable Freeth said he "timed the distance 
between Wheeler's to Rayner's at a smart gallop." The 
time was forty-six minutes. He also timed the distance 
between Rayner's and Winks' by the road and found it 
took him thirty-nine minutes, but added that by the new 
track it would take five minutes more, or forty-four 
minutes. That then accounts for ninety minutes, which 
surely was sufficient proof in itself that Tricker never 
could have done what he was accused of. 

The constable was accompanied on this ride by Mr. 
John Stevens, riding the identical horse, ' ' Maraku, ' ' which 
Tricker had ridden on the eventful day of the murder, 
but as the green colt had a summer's grass he had 
developed into a much better horse. Mr. Stevens supplies 
the following note : — * * We rode along the main road in the 
month of March, when it was perfectly dry, the time taken 
to ride as fast as it was possible from Wheeler's house to 
the front gate of the fence immediately in front of 
Rajmer's house was forty-six minutes. Neither of us dis- 
mounted, but turned our horses immediately and rode back 
again as fast as possible over the same road to Winks', at 
Parawanui, which occupied thirty-nine minutes. Had this 
been undertaken on the 28th August, during the wet 
weather, it would have been an impossibility to accomplish 
it in anything like the time, viz., 85 minutes. 


The judge, however, summed up against him, took the 
unsupported evidence of the "perjured half-caste," and 
w^ithout making sufficient inquiries as to the possibilities 
of this Dick Turpin-like ride. The jury returned a verdict 
of guilty, to the consternation of everyone in Rangitikei. 
The residents could surely better judge from their know- 
ledge pf the country how impossible it was for him to be 
guilty than a town jury. Tricker must have been very 
badly defended, for on reading the report of the case 
carefully there seem many points in Tricker 's favour 
which were not brought out. It must be admitted that 
Tricker used violent language about persons who had 
done him wrong and vowed vengeance; but those who 
knew him well felt sure it was never his intention to carry 
these threats out. Nor is it certain that they were 
directed against Rayner, The verdict created very high 
feelings of indignation in the district as a miscarriage of 
justice. The settlers were so certain that this was the case 
that they refused to pay anything towards the reward 
they had promised. A memorial was got up and signed 
by all and sundry, asking that the sentence should not be 
carried out, and although Tricker remained in prison and 
there was no formal reprieve, nothing was done. Not only 
in the district, but all over the Colony, there was great 
interest taken in the case. Mr. J. A. Bailey told me that 
he and his brothers were working on the diggings in 
Otago with some mates, and they used to read the evidence 
when it was published. They came to the conclusion thgft 
the accused was not guilty, although none of them knew 
the country then, in which they afterwards settled close 

The young men of the neighbourhood all tried to ride 
the distance on their horses, Mr. Donald Fraser on the 
very horse that Tricker had ridden on the eventful day. 
I am told only Lawrie Daniell, on a very fine thorough- 
bred, was able to do it in the time named. 

Fortunately, Archdeacon Stock, of Wellington, was 


convinced that Tricker was not guilty, and he set to work 
to examine the evidence. Mr, Fraser and others supplied 
him with the local knowledge, and he published a 
pamphlet on the subject with a sketch map drawn to scale 
of the district and the points named in the case. I can 
perhaps do nothing better than quote a few of the sen- 
tences in this pamphlet which was so very carefully 
drawn out: — 

"Every witness," he wrote, "speaks of the stillness of 
Mr. Rayner's premises on that morning. No smoke was 
seen. The fowls were not let out. The dog did not bark. 
There had been a very loud barking of dogs on the 
Thursday night. Mrs Hitchings — (Note. — The Hitchings 
lived quite close to Somerset House, where Mr. John 
Stevens lived before it was burnt. — J.G.W.) — at the 
inquest said: 'It was not ordinary barking — they were 
barking like mad. Does it not seem that the murder was 
done on the Thursday night and not on the Friday 
morning?' Had Tricker really wished to murder Mr. 
Rayner why did he not do it at once, after his return from 
gaol? He is a very hot-tempered man. Such men seek 
their revenge directly and not when their anger has had 
time to cool." Yet Tricker, when he had been treating 
with Rayner about some adjustment of boundaries, said 
to Mrs. Campion about a month before the murder, "I 
think Rayner and I will be good friends yet, he is behaving 
very differently to me to what he has done," Although 
no evidence of a renewal of friendly relations between 
Rayner and Tricker was given at the trial, at the inquest 
James McDonell stated that Tricker said that Rayner and 
he (Tricker) were on the best terms, and, again, that 
Rayner had asked him to select some rams for him; and 
both Messrs. Fraser and Paulin corroborated this at the 

"It was assumed at the trial, Scott's time being unques- 
tioned, that after leaving Wheeler's Tricker rode up to 
Rayner's, murdered him, chased Hamilton, buried the 


body, ransacked the house, then rode back to the main 
road, showing himself at Winks' at 9.50. That he had an 
interval of time, seventy minutes, unaccounted for, which 
might have been thus filled up." 

"But it was not known at the trial, as all maps showed 
the main road only, that a swamp stretches across this 
loop road: that the length must have been at least twice 
11 miles 40 chains, or 23 miles : and therefore the interval 
to be accounted for, which the Judge put down at 70 
minutes, deducting 24 minutes allowed him for the murder, 
etc., he rides 23 miles in 46 minutes." 

The Archdeacon then shows if he had taken the swamp 
route that as the crow flies he would have "twice 7 miles 
10 chains, or 14^4 miles to be ridden in 46 minutes', at the 
rate of 18 miles an hour over rough country and a 

"It is certain that Hamilton was at the burial of the 
body from his footprints on the top of the bank — (see 
evidence of Mr. Fox at the inquest) — that he was seen 
by Watson near Major Marshall's, nine miles from 
Rayner's about one o'clock, and that he crossed the 
Rangitikei in the afternoon." 

This remark is most significant — "Hamilton must have 
been at the burial. " It is curious that no steps were taken 
to retain Hamilton, if this was the case, until some further 
enquiry was made; for whoever did the deed must have 
been known to Hamilton. It was stated by him in his 
evidence at the trial that several Maoris who had been 
working for Rayner remonstrated when they were being 
paid that it was not sufficient, and "they were using 
threatening language towards Rayner, they were remon- 
strating with him for their pay being so small: "I heard 
them swearing at Rayner after they left him." 

Hamilton also stated that on the Thursday night he 
hung up Rayner's saddle as usual on the peg, but the 
evidence of others was that when they entered the stable 
the saddle was lying on the ground with mud marks on 


it. Another witness said that there was blood on the 
stable door, and an empty case, also in the stable, had 
blood on it. 

When the body was found Mr. Bull, who was present, 
said that the deceased was wearing the same clothes 
\n which he left his (Mr. Bull's) house. It would have 
been a curious thing if Rayner had put on the * ' long grey 
overcoat" that he was dressed in the night before if he 
was just going out from breakfast. 

Archdeacon Stock also points out that the rifle marks 
on the balls which were taken from the body were quite 
different from those which would have been fired out of 
Rayner 's pistol, which it was assumed had been used. 
Three chambers had been fired and two were loaded, and 
three bullets were found in the body. 

This evidence collected by Archdeacon Stock created 
such a feeling in the Province that Parliament was 
petitioned, and Tricker was allowed to go at large. No 
pardon was then granted. 

After reading the evidence many times, and making 
all enquiries which I have been able to make, it would 
seem the most likely thing that happened was that Rayner 
left Bull's and rode home. Some Maori or Maoris, 
knowing he would bring his saddle into the stable, con- 
cealed themselves and awaited his return. They would 
be in the dark and unseen, though Rayner would be visible 
to them. He was struck on the head with the edge of a 
spade and stunned, and was then shot when he was on 
the ground. 

It was quite reasonable to suppose, if this is correct, 
that they knew he would have money in the house some- 
where, or it might have been known that he was receiving 
money from Mr. Bull that day. It is unlikely that 
Hamilton would himself have done this, but he must have 
been privy to it. He is not likely to have said anything 
to incriminate anyone at the inquest, as he himself might 
have been also tried because of the marks of his boots on 


the side of the bank. Least of all is it likely that he would 
say anything to incriminate a Maori or Maoris. The 
Maoris would naturally go into the house and search for 
any valuable, but apparently were disappointed. 

They had ample time to bury the body, and it is said 
that the flax knots which were found on the legs of the 
body were those usually tied by Maoris. Their horses 
would be handy, and they could ride away unseen in th^ 

It is only fair to add, however, that this is not the 
opinion of Mr. John Marshall, who remembers the whole 
circumstances well. He knew Hamilton and Hoari, and 
has lived most of his life near Maoris, and had constant 
communication with them, and therefore knows their 
characters well. I referred these notes to him, and he 
writes: "I notice you incline to the theory that Rayner 
was murdered by the Maoris with whom he had quarrelled. 
I cannot think so for two reasons — First, the time and 
manner of the murder was entirely foreign to Maori 
nature. No Maori would have gone after dark and waited 
in the dark for their enemy to come. They would have 
attacked him in the early morning or lain in wait in 
daylight, and, having struck him down with the spade, 
would have gone on battering him with it; further, a 
Maori bent on mischief would have, in those days, gone to 
work with his own tomahawk, and would not have trusted 
to finding a weapon on the place to do the job with. 
Revolvers, too, were new weapons at that day. A Maori 
would have known nothing of them or their use. Second, 
a Maori or Maoris would sooner or later have boasted of 
having killed a pakeha, and of having revenged himself. 
He couldn't have held his tongue, for to wipe out an insult 
in blood was a point of honour in the old Maori. He would 
have boasted in his pa of his revenge, and sooner or later 
the tale would have leaked out. Now I have never heard 
the name of any Maori connected with the crime, which, 
to me, makes it incredible that the murderer was a Maori. 


Who the murderer was will never be known in this world. 
I have not a suspicion." And there it must rest. 

Next morning the two lads naturally would get away 
as soon as possible. They seem to have both gone even- 
tually to the Hou Hou, for it was there they were arrested 
and brought to Bulls. They had ample time to concoct 
any story, because they were all night in the lock-up 
together. The whole case was muddled at the coroner's 
inquest, and the lads went away free, and Mr. Halcombe, 
the foreman of the jury, who knew the district well, was 
satisfied that Tricker had cleared himself. Anyone who 
has had to do with Maoris knows that on occasion they 
can concoct a most wonderfully consecutive story in giving 
evidence before the Land Court when making a claim for 

This murder no doubt formed the topic for many a 
discussion in the Maori pas at night. The temptation of 
a reward would incite further invention. I have no doubt 
at all that Hamilton's story was concocted by himself, or 
with the assistance of others, and he was induced to tell 
this story in Whanganui perhaps to save others as well as 
himself, and perhaps with the hope of some reward, 
Napia was never liked or trusted, like his father, by the 
white residents, and after this event he was shunned and 
felt the cold shoulder. The mystery will never be cleared 
up, but it darkened the lives of a family for many years. 
Some years after several residents in Rangitikei interested 
themselves in having a free pardon granted in Mr. 
Tricker 's case, which was presented to him in the Town 
Hall, Bulls, by Mr. John Stevens, which was some consola- 
tion to the family. Mr. Tricker showed great pluck and 
wonderful endurance, both mental and physical, during 
the whole time. He had an extraordinary desire for work, 
and, although a slight man, never seemed to tire of 
improving his place. Every little bit of swamp was 
drained and utilized, every sandhill covered with grass 
and sand-break stopped from spreading. It was no doubt 
this fervour of work that saved him from fretting about 


his troubles. Although I often used to have a chat with 
him he never mentioned any of these occurrences except 
once. It was an election day somewhere about the end 
of the seventies. I met him in the street and he mentioned 
that it was the anniversary of Rayner's murder, but I did 
not like to pursue the subject. He often, however, talked 
about it to others, and shrewdly said to one, **If I wanted 
to murder Rayner I could have done it on the run, and 
the pigs would soon have destroyed all traces." 

He passed away a few years ago, after a most strenuous 
life, respected by all his neighbours. Surely never was a 
man more sorely tried. 




When we turn to the land on the south side of the 
Rangitikei, we have an entirely different condition of 
things to deal with. It is very noticeable that, as far as 
there is any record, there was never a word of dispute 
in connection with the Rangitikei-Turakina Block pur- 
chase. The surveys went on as a matter of course, and the 
settlement was welcomed by the Maoris. Things were very 
different in the case we have now to consider. 

It must be remembered that the Maoris in 1849 were 
still living according to Native custom, and scarcely yet 
understood the meaning of Pakeha money. Only a few 
years before this the Whanganui land had been purchased 
for goods — as described by "Wakefield in his "Adventure 
in New Zealand" — and a very unseemly scramble took 
place in the distribution. The chiefs could not restrain 
the people from fighting for possession. Nor did it seem 
that the chief got much more than any one of his people. 
The fact must always be remembered that in the early 
sales the Natives considered they were selling something 
of no value to themselves for a consideration of great 
value. The PakeJia was buying at a price land to which his 
advent had given a value, and nothing which the Maori 
had done — except that the cultivation round his ivhare was 
of value to him — enhanced that value. 

In the state we found the Maori he had no conception 
of private ownership in land, yet the very raison d^etre of 
the Pakeha in New Zealand was that he should be able to 
get a piece of land of his own. There was always enough 
land for the Natives, wherever he liked to settle amongst 
his friends, to cultivate and grow kumaras for himself and 


family. There were, no doubt, tribal lands which served 
as the hunting and fishing grounds for the people, who 
did not reside on these, but they all had a right to visit 
them when they liked. They had their seasons for going, 
and, no doubt, generally moved in concert for fear of any 
enemy. For instance, fern root was a source of food and 
had to be dug up and prepared by the women in a certain 
way, but, saving when other food was scarce, this food was 
not greatly sought after. The Natives well knew where 
the best root was to be obtained. Then, a particular season 
was devoted to eels. No doubt the time selected was at 
the end of summer when the first heavy rains came, and 
the lakes, swollen by these rains, overflowed again to the 
sea. Then it was that the larger eels swarmed to the 
sea in countless numbers to breed. Even now, when this 
occurs, it is not difficult to get a dray load of these fish in 
a very short while. There were times for fishing at sea, 
and, without doubt, the whole coast was carefully fished 
either by a line while standing in the surf, or a canoe 
outside, as was frequently seen from the coach as it 
travelled along the coast. There were also times for the 
snaring of pigeons, kakas, and tuis in the bush and its 
outskirts, when these birds were in good condition — or 
ducks in the swamps and lakes. Even when fighting was 
going on between tribes, the old people and women and 
children remained to attend to the cultivations. 

Soon this gradually changed. The potato was more 
easily grown than the kumara; the missionaries taught 
the Maori (who is naturally one of the best cultivators of 
the soil known) to grow wheat. Baked bread became 
common, meat could be obtained from the PakeJia when he 
killed a beast, and pigs were reared in the pa. Fighting 
had ceased between the different tribes, and the Maori 
found that the land in the neighbourhood of his settlement 
became valuable, and could be dealt with so that it would 
bring in an income. Naturally, therefore, the Maoris who 
had settled in the district between the Rangitikei and 


Oroua began to consider that they had a claim to the land, 
and to battle for it on all occasions that arose. 

The first mention of the Manawatu country I have come 
across is in Wakefield's "Adventure in New Zealand," 
in August, 1840. He seems to have paid a visit to the 
district in a three-ton cutter belonging to "Geordie" 
Young, which was hired for the trip. Stormy weather 
delayed the start, and he stayed with the whalers. He 
says, "The rough hospitality of the whalers, however, 
made me as comfortable as possible, and I watched two or 
three exciting chases from the look-out hill, which over- 
hung the principal whare." 

Those who see the peaceful stretch of water from the 
top of Pukerua — where the train leaves the tunnels to go 
over the saddle into Porirua from Paekakariki — stretching 
away towards Kapiti, cannot imagine it the scene of many 
a great whale chase. I have been told by old whalers that 
as many as 100 boats and many whaling vessels would 
sometimes gather between Ohau Bay (just below Pukerua) 
and Kapiti, and not only did they chase whales, but many 
an exciting race occurred as to who would reach the whale 
to give it the first harpoon. 

Wakefield had already passed the mouth of the Mana- 
watu in February of 1840, and says, "As we ran along 
within two miles of the shore I saw a remarkable grove 
of high pine trees, near the mouth of a river called 
Manawatu, or "hold breath," which flows into the sea 
about twenty-five miles from Kapiti. ' ' This grove of pine 
trees is still existent, and has served steamers going to 
Foxton as a guide as to the entrance. It is called 
" Omarupapaku, " and is seen from the railway near the 
racecourse at Foxton. It is on a Harbour Board reserve. 
Stock have, however, so damaged the trees that many are 
dying, and "Omarupapaku" will soon be "Tupapaku" (a 
dead body). 

This time, in "Geordie" Young's cutter, he went 
inland, and "landed through the surf on the beach to the 
north, the bar looking dangerous. Three young natives 


travelled to the northward and bivouacked on the sand- 
hills with us till dark. At midnight, the tide being more 
favourable, we threw out our ballast, and poled our boat 
through the inner rollers on the north sand-spit, into the 
river. About a mile along the north bank we found a 
small deserted pa, where we put up for the night. — (This 
must have been about the Fishermen's Bend. — J.6.W.) 
At daylight we proceeded about fifteen miles up the 
river to the spot where the vessel was building." (He 
had gone up to see a Captain Lewis, who had come up to 
the Kari Kari, where there was a fine bush close to the 
river, to build a thirty-ton vessel.) "The river was deep, 
but narrow, and the land on both sides level, and appar- 
ently fertile ; but the waters of extensive swamps drained 
sluggishly over the low banks at places. Until near 
Captain Lewis's huts, the country was nearly clear of 
timber, and we enjoyed an uninterrupted view of the 
north-western face of the Tararua range, over the high 
flax and reeds on the south bank. To the north the 
horizon seemed unbounded. Near the small dock-yard 
forests of large timber trees began to line the banks, and 
in one of the finest groves we perceived the skeleton of a 
small vessel on the stocks, two reed huts, a pig-stye, and 
a sawpit. Captain Lewis and his brother, now looking 
more like Yankee backwoodsmen than whalers, a sawyer, 
a carpenter, and their native wives and relations greeted 
our arrival." 

This was where, later, the Messrs Kebbell Bros, put 
up their sawmill and had a flour mill as well. He then 
describes the heads of the river, where he sounded the 
bar and found six feet at low water — it seems to have 
been much the same as it is now. He then goes on to 
describe a journey which a man called Jack Duff took up 
the river. 

He went as far as a whaleboat could go (fifty miles, 
he thought) "through country of the same level, fertile 
character, abounding with the finest timber." Then, in 



canoes, he went further up and through the Gorge, when 
the "country again opened out." 

About a year later, Wakefield went to Rangitikei. 
He says, "I was accompanied from Manawatu to Rangi- 
tikei by the wife and brother of Taratoa (Napia). . . . 
As the rivers were swollen, and it was reported that no 
natives were at the mouth, I accompanied these people to 
the pa of the Ngatiapa (Parewanui) . They behaved with 
great kindness and regard towards me, and I got a canoe 
from the other side, wished them farewell, and crossed 
over to the village. Here the whole of the Ngatiapa 
residing on this river, who are not about a hundred in 
number, have their abode. The country is perfectly level 
in every direction for many miles about here, and most 
fertile. In the open spots, the grass is as thick and 
luxuriant as though it has been carefully sown and 

Another time, in 1842, he travelled from Parewanui 
to Puke Totara on the Oroua. "We travelled all day 
through open pasture land, the path apparently avoiding 
the timber parts, which rose in various directions like the 
islands and promontories of a coast. Towards dusk we 
entered into a spacious kind of bay among the wood, and 
reached the borders of a swamp which filled one-half of 
it. — (The Horse Shoe as it was called in the Oroua Downs 
time. — J.G.W.) As we had been warned that this roto or 
swamp might be very deep, we thought it prudent to 
encamp till daylight. . . At break of day we followed 
the track across the swamp, about a mile to the edge of 
the wood. The water was only a little above our knees 
after all, but painfully cold. ... At the edge of the 
wood we found a family catching eels close by. — 
(Probably Sluggish Creek. — J.G.W.) They were one of 
the original tribes, a remnant of the few natives left in 
tributory freedom after Rauparaha's invasion — (the 
Rangltanes. — J.G.W.). My boys shot some pigeons while 
we were drying our wet things. About two miles through 
the forest, which almost entirely consisted of magnificent 


totara trees, brought us to the banks of the Oroua." 
(This bush would be just south of Jones's line, where 
there was a sawmill many years ago.) They then got a 
canoe and "descended the river about ten miles to 
its confluence with the main river, where a large pa called 
Puke Totara is situated." He was anxious to get to the 
survey station at Kari Kari, or "Dig-Dig," about 24 miles 
lower down the river, and, after much bargaining, pro- 
cured a canoe and got to the station. He then describes 
the sawmill which the Kebbell brothers were putting up. 
The engine was a rotary one of twenty-horse power. It 
was covered with a thatched building of the most curious 
form; gable after gable and roof after roof having been 
added on as each part of the machinery was erected and 
required protection. Out of the midst of the heap of 
angles a great chimney rose to the height of forty feet. 
This, and the steam which had been set going once or 
twice on trial, excited the unbounded respect of the 
natives. He puia mokia, "It is a tame boiling spring," 
one of them said." 

"A great many of the natives were employed in 
rafting logs down the river, and hauling them up the 
bank to the mill yard, where tramways were laid to 
carry them to the miU yard. The forge, the residences of 
the millers, and their labourers, iron in various shapes, 
and machinery of all kinds, surrounded the bustling scene. 
Opposite, a shopkeeper from Port Nicholson (Wellington) 
had established a trading store, where about fifty natives 
were loitering and haggling about; and my fat friend, 
Jimmy Jackson, was alongside loading potatoes into a 
schooner which he had built at Te Awaiti." 

Such is the graphic description of the first sawmiU in 
the Manawatu Bush, destined to be all cut out by hun- 
dreds of busy mills in our own time, seventy years 

On the Oroua the Rangitanes still lived at Puke Totara. 
On the Manawatu River, east of Motoiti, a section of the 
Ngatiraukawa also had a pa. Further over at Puke Puke 


Lake, which they used for fishing, the Ngatiapas had a pa. 
On the Rangitikei was another pa called Hokianga. At 
Paparata, near where the Messrs. Amon now live there 
was a portion of the Ngatiwehiwehi tribe ; and at Owhaoa 
(Ooa), near Taikorea, where Mr, Scott lives — here the 
principal man was called Wiriharae te Angainga a 
Ngatiterangi. Another pa was adjacent to the bush at 
Purakau, east of the present Carnarvon schoolhouse, 
where Pene te Whareakaka was head man, and there were 
pas all the way up the Rangitikei river. When the 
Europeans first began to run cattle on the south side of 
the river, there were a great many conflicting interests to 

Mr. Fraser seems to have been the first to negotiate for 
a lease of a run. This he arranged with the following 
natives: — Ratana, Mohi Mohi and Utiku Marama of Pare- 
wanui, Ngatiapa, with the consent of Napia Taratoa, who 
lived at Matahiwi, and Tapu te Whata, Ngatiraukawa, 
whose pa was at Awhuri, but who seemed to have claims at 
the Rangitikei. The boundary of this run was the bush 
which then ran across the country to the Oroua River from 
the Rangitikei below Sandon, from the Makowai to the 
ridge overlooking Highden, along that ridge to Mt. Stewart, 
down the track which ran from there to the Makowai, 
and thence back again to the bush. This run was called 
Waitohi, and was taken up by Mr. Donald Fraser and 
his brother Duncan. When Mr. Fraser went to the 
diggings half of it went to Mr. Jordan in 1862, and, later, 
the other share was sold to the same buyer, who had it 
for some years, and sold it to Mr. Harry Hammond, whose 
family has it now. 

Mr. Jordan brought his brother-in-law out, Jack 
Reigaud, and he was boundary riding there for a long 
time. His father was Bishop of the Bermudas, and Jack 
was often called **The Bishop." Jack Reigaud was well 
known afterwards as the driver of the coach from Bulls 
to Greatford, and his little rotund figure grew rounder 
and rounder as time went on. "Billy" Hay ward owned 


the stables (which he took over from Bob ErsMne) at the 
Rangitikei Hotel, from which the coaches started. 

One day the coach came down alone, and, without 
stopping at the Post Office, turned into the yard and 
stopped as usual, and everyone was astonished to find 
there was no driver. The horses, having got tired of 
waiting, started off themselves, and left Jack at the 
station. When Mr. Hayward retired, he went on to his 
farm on the Oroua, a beautiful bit of land, where he has 
since resided. 

Laurie Daniel leased Hikungarara run from the same 
Maoris (Mr. Fraser thinks). It joined the Waitohi run 
on the south, and ran back to the ridge overlooking the 
Mangaone North to the bush at Mt. Biggs, and down to 
the river again. Napia Taratoa of Matahiwi, Hare Eewiti 
and his brother Katene, and Aparahama te Huru-Huru 
had a share in this, as the latter lived on Ohinepuhiawe 
adjoining the homestead. 

Further up the river Major Trafford had the Mingiroa 
the principal lessor being Aparahama te Huruhuru. The 
northern boundary where the Rangatawa and the open 
country round about Halcombe was part of it. The 
manager was the Biggs we have already noted at Korero- 
maiwaho, and who afterwards went to Poverty Bay, and, 
as Major Biggs, was massacred there in the Te Kooti 
trouble. We have already seen that, like ** Young 
Lochinvar," he swam the Esk (Rangitikei) river, "where 
ford there was none," and he married and went to 
Poverty Bay. Te Kooti and a body of native prisoners 
on the Chatham Islands escaped and landed at Poverty 
Bay, and, against the advice of Mr. Donald McLean, and 
the wishes of the native allies, the Stafford Government 
sent a totally inadequate force to attack him. A number 
of his people were shot, and, in retaliation, he came down 
at night and surrounded the settlement, where the Biggs 
and Wilson families lived. Poor Biggs had been warned 
to bring away his family, but, as my informant says, "he 
was a brave fellow, and refused." The two families were 


simply wiped out, except Mrs. Wilson and her little son, 
who hid in the fern. 

The Honourable J. D. Ormond, who went through all 
the troublous times and worked with Sir Donald McLean 
(then Mr.), and succeeded him as Native Agent, speaks 
in the highest terms of the Ngatiporou tribe during the 
time beginning with the murder of Volkner to the end 
of the Te Kooti episode. He says, "It was Sir Donald 
McLean's personal influence with the Ngatiporou tribe 
that saved the wiping out of European settlements on the 
east coast, but "that is another story." 

Te Rakehou was another run on the Mangaone creek, 
and extended from that creek to the Oroua in open 
country. This was taken up by Captain Blewitt, Mr. 
Fraser thinks, and Mr. Alick McDonald went there about 
1862. Unfortunately, Mr. McDonald, in his notes, does not 
mention anything of his life there. It afterwards passed 
into Mr. William Swainson's hands, probably about 1865, 
but I have no record of the exact date. 

Another run, south of the Mangaone and reaching to 
Awahuri, called Pohatatua, was leased by Captain 
Campbell, of Wiritoa, and Mr. John Cameron, of 
Marangai. W. P. Campbell and John Lees went from 
Whanganui to manage it in April, 1861. Mr. John Lees 
was a nephew of Mr. Cameron's, and came out to New 
Zealand in 1859, and brother of Dr. Cameron Lees (now 
Sir Cameron Lees), who, as a preacher, was such a 
favourite of the late Queen Victoria. Mr. John Cameron's 
advice to the young men when they went out to take 
possession of the run was "Leave their pigs and women 
alone, and you '11 have no trouble with the natives. ' ' And 
it speaks well for the settlers generally, that this rule was 
not broken, for, in no single instance (save a dispute 
between the natives themselves as to receipt of rents) 
have I heard of any trouble between the lessees in those 
days and their Maori landlords. 

The Campbells sold the run later, and it fell into the 
hands of John Lees eventually. John Lees, on his "hollow 


back," was one of the familiar figures in Rangitikei in 
the sixties and seventies — a fine character and a good 

The Maoris who leased these two latter runs were Tapa 
te Whata, Hoeta Kahuhui, Kooro te One, and Poi-te-Ara 
(the wife of Takana te Kawa), the latter a woman of 
commanding appearance and of great strength of 
character, is alive now at a place called Kai-Iwi, on the 
Oroua river, between Awahuri and Feilding. Her hapu 
was the Ngatikauwhata — a branch of the Ngatiraukawa. 

It must have been during this period, when he was at 
Rakehau, that Mr. McDonald knew these people 

South of the bush, which ran through from the 
Makowai creek to the Oroua, but which is now almost 
cleared, was a considerable area of open land, covered 
with scrub, fern, tutu, toe-toe, and flax. This ran right 
down the coast to Foxton, and was bounded by a fringe 
of bush running from Oroua Bridge up the Oroua river 
in clumps, and round above the series of swamps, through 
which the Sluggish Creek ran, and taking in what is now 
the flourishing district of Rongotea. 

The lower end of this land was stocked much earlier 
than the upper end. In fact, Captain Robinson was at 
Foxton somewhere in the middle forties, and his stock 
was managed by Harry and Charlie Symons, and, later, 
his brother-in-law, Mr. Summerfield, worked with him. 

His homestead was in the Awahou Block, which was 
sold to the Government earlier. The northern boundary 
of this Block ran from the sea about a couple of miles 
above the Manawatu Heads, through the trig station, 
Oruakaitawa, and thence in almost a straight line below 
the present Harbour Reserve (Omarupapaku), and Mr. 
Barber's Himitangi Run to the Manawatu, at a place 
called Wahi Tapu, a burial ground. This block embraced 
all the Moutoa Swamp and Foxton. 

The first tenant (Ratana says) of the land now con- 
sisting of the open country south of the Makowai and the 


Carnarvon district was Dr. Best, who was some relation 
to Captain Robinson. The land was leased from Hakeke, 
Hunia's father, and extended as far east as Taikorea Trig 
Station. He took this run about 1847. 

North of this line the land was leased to T. U. Cook 
about 1850, who was well known on the Coast, his home- 
stead, on an old map I have, is shown by the surveyor, 
J. Hughes, to have been on the south-eastern corner of 
Lake Kaikokopu, though afterwards shifted to the Oroua 
Downs house. Parakaia and his people were the lessors. 
This run afterwards fell into the hands of Jacob Joseph 
(for whom Walter Simpson managed), who eventually 
bought the homestead block of 640 acres, and sold it to 
Mr. John Douglas. 



There was still a large area unlet up towards the 
Rangitikei River, where Mr. McKelvie's and Mr. 
McKenzie's properties are now. This was first let to 
Mr. Higgie, of Whanganui, and by him passed on to 
Patterson and Alexander in 1858, by the Ngatiapa, with 
an occasional payment to the Ngati Raukawa, as a douceur 
to keep them quiet. Mr. David Peat had just come out, 
and had been a few months at Westmere when his uncle 
(Mr. James Alexander, who was afterwards his partner) 
engaged him to go down and look after the cattle. Mr. 
Peat says, "There were about 500 as fine cattle taken 
down from Whanganui as one would wish to see." All 
branded P. A., which brand became well known up and 
down the coast. Mr. Peat goes on, "What the extent of 
the run was I never knew. The stock ran from Rangitikei 
to the Manawatu. Robinson grazed the Manawatu portion 
and the P.A. cattle the Rangitikei end, but they mixed 
all through. There were no settlers on the Rangitikei 
end of the block. I was there for about four months 
looking after the cattle, but I soon saw that without a 
stockyard, a whare, and a secure paddock or two, the 
cattle would soon go wild, as Robinson's wild cattle drew 
towards the Carnarvon end. I could not persuade them 
into my views, and left, as I would have been blamed for 
letting them get wild. They found to their cost that their 
judgment was wrong. I lived at Poyntsfield with the 
late Thomas McKenzie, who took charge of the herd at 
my departure." Mr. Peat was quite right in his surmise, 
and after he left Messrs. Donald Fraser and Tom 
Richardson, Sen., put up a stockyard close to the mouth 
of the Makowai, within fifty yards of the river, and a 


long lead was erected northwards to get the cattle in. A 
whare are built, and the mustering time for branding 
calves was a scene of great activity. A Mr. James Heath 
followed Mr. Peat in charge, and then Mr, T. U. McKenzie 
had supervision. Mr. Stevens, who was one of the 
musterers, says the whare was full to overflowing at 
mustering time. From Foxton came ** Harry and Charlie 
Symons. Tom Cook, Tommy and Bill Barnett, Jack 
Ronacles, Frank Robinson; and Jack Scott, Willie Hair, 
John and R. B. McKenzie, McKelvie sometimes, Cumber- 
land McDonell and his brother "big Mac," with Arona 
te Hana (one of the best men after cattle I ever saw, and 
later minister at Parawanui), and myself formed the 
northern contingent, whilst Alick Patterson represented 
the owners. ' ' The John McKenzie spoken of was the late 
Mr. T. W. McKenzie 's eldest son "who was shortly after- 
wards killed when cutting out cattle in the corner of 
McKelvie 's paddock. We used to go out on the run and 
muster up as many sometimes as 500 head, drive them 
round the big trig (Mt. Alexander), and so to the river, 
where the lead took them on to the yard." Perhaps for 
a month they would be at this work, for Mr. Stevens 
reckons there would be 6000 head of cattle on the run, 
and strenuous work it was. "Alick Patterson was a stout 
man and had a clumsy horse with a big head, thick neck 
and wide chest, that lumbered along after the mob when 
they broke, I used to gallop up past him, and he would 
call out "gang a heid lad and stop the sanguinary 
vermin. ' ' 

After about four yearly musterings, generally about 
February or March, Patterson and Alexander sold out to 
Captain Fiske, an auctioneer in Whanganui; but, after 
getting a few head in, he sold the lot to Mr. Scott, of the 
Ferry. A lead was put out by the new owner from the 
yard right out to near Taikorea Trig Station, but the 
cattle were very wild and used to break it down. Mr. 
Stevens describes that "one day Tom Higgle and I got 
about 500 head rounded up near what is now Robinson's 


Lake on a flat, and amongst them was a well-known wild 
cow, who took the lead away over the sandhills. The only 
chance was to kill her, and, getting a knife from Tom, I 
galloped up and made a slash at her, but only succeeded 
in making a big gash in her flank ; but the cattle had got 
so wild with their rush to get away that we couldn't stop 
them, and only got some seven or eight head into the yard. 
I thought I had killed the cow, but a year afterwards 
I saw her amongst a mob of 500 or 600 in Davy Scott's 
paddock, still alive and well, but with a gash still in her 

What cattle they could get in were sold, and a number 
shot, and then "my brother Bob, and Duncan McKenzie 
got the right to shoot bulls, and for a couple of years they 
shot about 200 or 300 head per annum for their hides. ' ' 

"Hugh Fraser and I had Raumai at the time, and the 
sheep got the scab from Bewley's. We got the dry sheep 
in and dipped them thrice, and, after putting them on 'the 
island,' (a paddock, now in my son's hands, but then an 
island in the midst of impenetrable swamp — J.G.W.), on 
to which, by the assistance of many cart-loads of scrub, we 
made a road and got the sheep over and left them as long as 
we could. I then arranged with the Maoris to run them on 
Carnarvon, which by this time was being sold to the 
Government, and we took them over the river and left 
them in charge of Tom Richardson and Jim Wallace. Of 
these I took 280 fats up to Auckland (the year Prince 
Alfred was there) on deck of a steamer, and Messrs. 
Fraser and McKelvie sent up 48 fat bullocks in the hold. 
We had a dreadful trip up, and when we got inside the 
Manakau Heads 19 out of 48 head of bullocks had to be 
hauled out of the hold and thrown overboard, dead. Only 
three of the sheep died. I got from 25/- to 32/6 a head 
for the sheep, which cost in freight about 2/6. Alfred 
Buckland sold them. The rest were sold locally in 1868, 
but meanwhile sheep had fallen, and we only got 4/- or 5/- 
a head for them." 


"After we took the sheep over the river Mrs. Winks 
laid an information against us for shifting the sheep 
without a permit, and Mr. R. K. Simpson (then Inspector) 
had to prosecute us. I explained that it was the best 
we could do, for the sheep were clean, and had they 
remained would certainly have become scabby again, but 
Mr. Fox, who was on the bench, fined us £100, — but the 
Provincial Government never got the money, so it was all 

The sheep which remained scabby at Raumai were 
eventually taken to the boiling down establishment, which 
Messrs. Hammond and Stevens had started in Bulls 
(where Dr. Watson's cow shed is now) and eventually 
the country became clean again. 

There was another run rented by Dr. Hildebrand, 
Messrs. Peter Hume, Carr and Kelly, consisting of the 
land above Awahuri and all the country round about 
the present town of Feilding. About 400 head were sent 
up the coast from Wellington, and eventually were taken 
to Fred, O'Donnell's yard (where Mr. Tom Cameron 
lives now) and there branded and then taken through 
the bush to Mr. Richardson's and across the run to the 
Oroua. A man named Jim Smith was left in charge of 
them. Mr. Stevens describes staying a night with him 
on his way, with a Maori, to Napier across the mountain 
track. Smith showed him a beautiful piece of greenstone 
he had polished, and eventually it was bought for 10/- and 
hung on a silver watch-chain Mr. Stevens was very proud 
of. On reaching Raukawa, preparatory to crossing the 
Manawatu, he found old Hirate Wanu, a very well-known 
Ngatikohunga chief who lived there, and he showed his 
newly-purchased ornament with pride, but Hira ridiculed 
it and said it was "glass bottle," and sure enough it was. 
But although Mr. Stevens doesn't remember what he did 
with it, he adds, "I must have traded it away, for I don't 
think I was likely to lose my ten shillings," and I don't 
suppose he did. 


Those who remember the country before settlement — 
and there is still a considerable number — will have some 
idea of the free and open air life the settlers then spent. 
The land was mostly in fern, tutu, koromiko, flax, toe-toe 
and scrub, and the cattle roamed about at will. Those in 
charge of them had to watch the boundaries of their runs 
as well as possible by constantly riding along them, and 
turning the stock back (what the Scotch call hefted), so 
that they would remain on their own grazing land. But 
cattle wander a great deal, and when the time of branding 
took place' everyone had to be present so that they might 
brand their own calves. Of course there were many which 
eluded the musterer, and as a result many bulls were left 
to become almost wild, and often eventually had to be 
shot. This all entailed much work on horseback, and the 
riders in those days were celebrated for their prowess. 
Perhaps they had not the finish of the gentleman rider 
of England, but they could give many points to him when 
it came to backing a young horse, or chasing cattle in 
rough country. The fern on the hillside was so dense 
that it was difficult to force a way through it, and the 
grazing was chiefly in the creeks, and on the flat land on 
top of the ridges. Besides the tracks which were used by 
the settlers to their homesteads from Bulls (which was 
the centre mostly used, as there was no Feilding or 
Palmerston), there were of course, tracks made by the 
cattle which they used in moving about to their different 
grazings. A wild beast, therefore, if he was started and 
got to one of these tracks, was very difficult to "head" 
He, because he was in front, had the best of the running, 
and even if by strategy he was headed it was a hundred 
chances to one that he would not be stopped, however 
much the stock whip played upon his face, eyes and horns. 
** Jimmy" Fox was one of the best horsemen employed at 
this time, and Mr. MiUs, who managed the run for Laurie 
Daniel, — ^himself one of the best hands with cattle and 
horses in the district — ^used to speak of a particular 
bullock, which gave them a lot of trouble. One day they 


were mustering cattle on the Mangaone and this bullock 
broke away and Jimmy Fox after him. He went straight 
for the Eangitikei River, and would not be headed, till 
he stuck up in some scrub close to the homestead. There, 
several hours afterwards, they found "Jimmy" sitting 
contentedly on the hillside, and the bullock below. Poor 
fellow, Jimmy Fox (who was a son of the shoemaker in 
Turakina) was killed in a very simple manner. He was 
showing off a horse near the bridge at Wangaehu, and 
jumped a post and rail fence off the road — the horse fell 
and the rider never rose again. He seemed to be a great 
favourite with all who knew him, for they all spoke 
affectionately of him. Mr. R. B. McKenzie in some notes 
he was kind enough to give me, says of this time, when 
he speaks of the A.P. cattle, "as fine a lot of gallopers as 
any boy could wish to chase after. Many a chase I had 
after them and many a draft of fat bullocks (about 100 
to 200 in each lot) I helped to muster. We used to muster 
them for fats on Tawhirihoe flat (afterwards called 
"Scott's flat") and "cut out" the fats — (this cutting out 
required both an expert horseman and special horses and 
was most exhausting work for both, for bullocks had to 
be separated from the mob and driven away some dis- 
tance; some horses were noted for their handiness in 
"cutting out" all up the coast — J.G.W.) then drive them 
along the beach to the Manawatu Lower Ferry (where 
the Heads township now stands), which was in charge of 
Trask and Barnett. Sometimes we were two or three 
days "crossing cattle." The Maoris had four working 
bullocks, which would swim the river, and were used to 
lead the cattle across. The charge for "the Bullocks" was 
£1 for the first time across and, I think, 10/- for every 
other time. Sometimes they would be driven across 10 or 
15 times in a day. These decoy bullocks would be placed 
near the river's edge, and held there till the mob of fats 
were brought up to them. The canoes were ready to close 
in behind the cattle, as sobn as they got afloat. When the 
mob joined the decoys the Maori would shout, *Te Pot" 


(Gee Spot), "Te Braney" (Gee Brandy), and they would 
go straight for the river followed by the mob of cattle, 
the men urging them on with their good old stockwhips, 
the dogs barked and heeled, and the men kept up a 
running fire of cracking stockwhips, yells and curses. 
(How they did curse and swear). The canoes (3 or 4) 
closed in behind the cattle, which sometimes went straight 
across after their leaders. Then the men laughed and 
swore and made for the Ferry Hotel, where they drcmk 
and swore and told of the times they had crossed cattle, 
though they seldom got drunk. Sometimes, however, they 
were not so lucky, and the cattle would break away before 
reaching the river. Then they had to be rounded up and 
another start made; at other times they would get afloat 
— that is swimming — and then start to "ring," despite 
the canoes and the long manuka poles, which the men in 
the canoes laid on to them; back they came, and had to 
be rounded up for another try. The decoy bullocks 
would, however, go straight across and had to be brought 
back to give another lead. If they had not got too far the 
canoes would head them back before they reached the 
other side." 

Many a toss was taken on those days after cattle and 
many a horse lamed, but it must have been congenial 
and exciting work for the young men of the day. The 
York Farm Hammonds were the best in the bush, and, 
when after cattle to get in fats, used to roam the bush 
with a pack of dogs to turn them out into the open. They 
must have had an extraordinary knowledge of the bush, 
for they would often spend the night out when on these 

They also had a run up the river, what is now Mr. 
Ewen McGregor's property, just by Otara Bridge. 
Behind them was another run, occupied by Major Mar- 
shall, and his son "Willie" looked after it, and many an 
adventure these young fellows had up and down the river, 
in and about the bush. 


When the mosquito time came, the cattle used to come 
out of the bush, and then it was that big hauls were made, 
and driven off home again. Mr. Mills used to say when- 
ever they got cattle back from the Kopane on the Oroua 
River they were always fat, and no wonder, for it has 
proved some of the best fattening ground in New Zealand 
since it was settled. 

On Mingiroa and Rakehou some merino sheep were 
run. They were more easily managed in the sense that 
they did not stray so much, yet they were very difficult to 
muster and often missed at shearing time. When, there- 
fore, scab broke out amongst them it was very difficult to 
get rid of: but eventually they were declared clean. Mr. 
Willie Ferguson, who had charge then of Mingiroa, said 
the last scabby sheep he ever found was at the 0-te-Ao-iti 
Bush, just above my present woolshed. But that was 
some years before the land was sold. 

The sheep seemed to encourage the growth of scrub 
very much, for as soon as sheep were put on, the manuka 
scrub came thick on the flats on top of the ridges. Mr. 
Mills remembered when a flat, which cost me about £1 
per acre to clear of scrub, was flax and toe-toe. This flat 
became a great harbour for wild pigs, and one very big 
boar defied all attempts to kill him; but at last he was 
caught by the Maoris, his tusks were the biggest I have 



Whilst all was peace between the different sections 
of the Maoris and the lessees, there was much disputa- 
tion amongst the tribes themselves. It became very 
evident that the land which they only occasionally used 
was valuable in the sight of the pakeha, and the hapus of 
the different tribes laid claim to much of it. The Ngati- 
apas declared it was theirs by ancestral right, and that 
they had never been dispossessed of it, and therefore the 
"squatters" could not have any land at all (as they had 
not been in undisputed possession) except perhaps their 
immediate holdings. And this became the basis of a very 
pretty and persistent quarrel. It must be remembered, 
too, that the system of government had been completely 
altered since the Rangitikei-Turakina Block purchase. A 
constitution had been granted, a general government 
ruled in the land, and New Zealand was divided into 
provinces. Wellington had for its Superintendent Dr. 
Featherston, a man born to govern, and who later died 
when Agent-General in London. 

Perhaps I cannot do better than describe the position 
in Mr. Alick McDonald's own words (he took a very 
active part later on behalf of the Ngatikauwhata (a hapu 
of the Ngatiraukawa), in their dispute with the Govern* 
ment) : — ''The Rangitikei-Manawatu Blocks lie between 
the Rangitikei and Manawatu Rivers. In 1863 the Ngati- 
apa tribe and the Ngatiraukawa tribe fell into violent 
dispute as to their respective rights to the Block. Ngati- 
apa claimed to have inherited the district from their 
ancestors, and that they had never been dispossessed of 
it. Ngatiraukawa claimed that fifteen or twenty years 
before British rule had been established in New Zealand 


(1840), they with other northern tribes, under Te Rau- 
paraha, had conquered the original tribes on this coast, 
and had occupied the Block in virtue of that conquest; 
and they pointed to their old and new clearings and settle- 
ments in proof of their long-continued occupation. 

"In 1864 the dispute became very hot and urgent. The 
colonists were not directly concerned, but war was raging 
elsewhere, and if actual hostilities broke out here, the 
settlers on adjoining blocks were sure to become involved. 
There was, however, no Court to which the disputants 
could appeal, and both tribes took to their arms. 

"It should be mentioned here that although a Native 
Land Act was passed by Parliament in 1862, the district 
from the E-angitikei River to the Ohau River was 
excluded from the operations of the Act, on the motion 
of Dr. Featherston (Superintendent of the Province of 

"The respective rifle pits of the contending tribes 
were advanced to within sixty yards of each other, when 
Sir William Fox heroically intervened. He, standing be- 
tween the opposing rifle pits, promised that if both parties 
would return to their respective settlements, he would 
undertake that in the ensuing session of Parliament means 
would be provided for a judicial investigation of the title 
of the block. 

* ' With this promise both sides were satisfied, and they 
at once mutually retired to their settlements. 

"Sir William Fox fulfilled his promise. But how? 
By causing to be issued to Dr. Featherston a double Royal 

1st. To judicially investigate and determine the Maori 
title of the rival claimants. 

"2nd. An ordinary Land Purchase Commission." 

Mr. McDonald, who entirely favoured the Ngatirau- 
kawa — as agent for the Ngatikauwhata hapu — in this dis- 
pute, considers that Dr. Featherston, who was appointed 
Commissioner to settle this dispute, was not a proper 
appointment, "his position as Superintendent of the Pro- 


vince of Wellington unfitted him as Judge of rival Maori 
claims to lands in the Province. ' ' 

Most people, however, would have thought that Dr. 
Featherston was a very suitable man. He was trusted by 
everyone, his integrity was unquestioned, and his 
experience in the Wellington Province was surely of great 
help in determining the merits of the claimants. He had 
purchased land from the Maoris before, and had their 
entire confidence. Nor, indeed, would the Land Court 
have been any better, for Mr. McDonald says later that 
"in 1868 a Native Land Court, the first in these districts, 
opened at Otaki (under Judge Smith, with him Justices 
Rogan and White and two Maori assessors). The claim 
of one of the non-sellers, by name Parakaia, and his hapu 
was called on. Parakaia was represented by Mr. T. C. 
Williams, and the sellers by Sir William Fox, who, by this 
time, was out of office, instructed by Dr. Featherston and 
Mr. Buller. The claim was for 11,000 acres of the disputed 
block near Foxton. The case occupied the Court for forty 
days, and the judgment was an equal division of the 
section between sellers and non-sellers. Mr. T. C. Williams 
was so disgusted with this judgment that he declared he 
would not appear in that Court again. Dr. Featherston 
also loudly and publicly declared his dissatisfaction, and 
the judgment was generally regarded as a compromise 
and not a judgment on the merits." 

But, in these few scattered notes, it would be out of 
place to go into the details of the trouble over the title 
to the land. Mr. Buick has gone into it exhaustively in 
his "Old Manawatu," and has given all the judgment of 
the Court when it came to adjudicate upon the merits of 
the case, but, it seems to me, has come to a wrong con- 
clusion, for he favours the view that the Ngatiraukawa 
had a claim over the land. 

It is somewhat doubtful whether Mr. McDonald was 
right when he said it was Sir William Fox's action which 
prevented fighting. Mr. Buick 's record is that it was only 


when Dr. Featherston came up that the disputants agreed 
not to fight and settle the matter amicably. 

It is certain that Ihakara had fortified his pa at Ta- 
whirihoe; that the Hokianga pa was also made ready for 
war ; and another at Makowai, just about 1864 ; for Ihakara 
mentions this when he was twitted that he did not want 
to fight. The Ngatiapas were also certainly prepared to 
fight, and were in Heke's old pa at Awahou (near the 
mouth of the Rangitikei River), and it must have been 
here that Mr. Fox met the disputants. 

If the truth were known, I believe neither of the par- 
ties had any inclination to fight at all, and were glad of 
the excuse to refer it to someone to decide. It was an 
extremely knotty point, however, for any court to give 
a judgment on. 

We have already seen that a tribe had come down from 
Mangatautari, gone through the Ngatiapa country (some 
by the coast, others down the Rangitikei River) along the 
Rangatawa, down the Mangaone to the Oroua, and so down 
the Oroua to the Manawatu, down that river and across it 
at the Kari Kari, and so on to Te Rauparaha 's assistance at 
Kapiti. They seem to have killed and probably eaten any 
straggling Ngatiapa they came across. But they did not 
assume possession of the land. When Te Rauparaha had 
served his purpose (which was to conquer the resident 
tribes), he was glad that they should go home as they pro- 
posed, and is said to have given some land on the south of 
the Manawatu to them, although, as far as I can see, there 
is not any record of this. It is certain, however, that 
sections of the Ngatiraukawa did occupy lands on the 
block in various places, the Ngatiwehiwehi on the Mana- 
watu and round about Taikorea, Napia Taratoa at Mata- 
hiwi, the chief of the Ngatiparewahawahas and others of 
the same hapu, at Ohinepuhiawe where Aperahama te 
Huruhuru and Hare Rewiti lived, and the Ngatikauwhata 
at Awahuri on the Oroua, where the principal people were 
Tapa te Whata, Hoeta Kahuhui, and Takana te Kawa; 


whilst Kooro te-oone of the same hapu at Mangawhata 
lived near Oroua Bridge. 

Ihakara Tukuwaru was occasionally resident on the 
south of the Manawatu, but had a pa at Tawhirihoe close 
to the mouth of the Rangitikei on the south side. As we 
have seen the Ngatiraukawa tribe claimed that they held 
the land by right of conquest, whilst the Ngatiapas 
claimed on the grounds of ancestral rights, and because 
they had never been dispossessed, though they had 
acquiesced in the occupation of portions of the land by 
some of the hapus of the Ngatiraukawas from friendly 
feelings towards them, and it is certain that until the dis- 
putes as to ownership arose they lived on friendly terms 
with them, and intermarried one with another. It was 
only when the land became of value and was let to 
Europeans that any disputes arose. 

After many meetings, much discussion, squabbles 
(during which Ihakara was firm that the land should be 
sold to the Government, as the only solution of the 
problem) as to the ownership, Dr. Featherston agreed 
that £25,000 should be paid for the block of land, that the 
Ngatiapa should get £15,000 as their share, and that those 
members of the Ngatiraukawa (Ihakara and others) who 
signed the deed of cession should receive £10,000. In all 
the negotiations Dr. Featherston was assisted by Mr. 
Buller, then Magistrate at Whanganui, and who was later 
knighted, and was the author of that valuable book, "The 
Birds of New Zealand." 

The non-sellers were apparently to be cut out of the 
block and given their land where they lived ; and it seems 
to me that the decision come to was a very fair one. The 
principal hapu who refused to sell, viz., the Ngatikau- 
whata, got a very large share indeed of the land, besides 
getting much compensation, as will be seen. Tapa te 
Whata was the only seller amongst them, and he got a 
section of 400 acres besides his share of the payment. 

Two Courts sat later to adjudicate upon the shares of 
the various non-sellers. One at Otaki, as we have seen, 


awarded Parakaia and his hapu 5,000 acres at Himitangi. 
The second Court sat at Wellington in 1869, Chief Judge 
Fenton and Judge Maning being the Judges. Judge 
Maning gave the Court's decision, and there was pro- 
bably no one in New Zealand better able to give a judg- 
ment under Native custom. After going exhaustively into 
the history of the various tribes, their migration, fights, 
ancestral rights, etc., the Judges found: — 

"1st. That the three Ngatiraukawa hapus — called 
respectively Ngatikahoro, Ngatiparewahawaha and Ngati- 
kauwhata — ^have acquired rights which constitute them 
owners, according to Maori usage and custom, along with 
the Ngatiapa tribe in the block of land, the right to which 
has been the subject of the investigation. 

"2nd. That the quantity and situation of the land to 
which the individuals of the above-named Ngatiraukawa 
sections who have not sold or transferred their rights, are 
entitled and the conditions of its tenure are described 
in the accompanying schedule. 

"And the Court finds that the Ngatiraukawa tribe has 
not as a tribe acquired any right, title, interest or 
authority in or over the block of land which has been the 
subject of this investigation." 

And this seems to me to be a very proper and fair 
judgment. The Ngatiraukawas who resided on the land, 
and would not agree to the sale, got their share cut out 
of the block. Those who agreed to the sale got their 
portion of the purchase money and the land they resided 
on reserved for them inalienably. The Ngatiapas got their 
share of the purchase money, reserves were also cut out 
and given them by Sir Donald McLean as Native Minister, 
to quieten the demands that were made later, really for 
the sake of peace. But there was so much turmoil and 
so many objections made, to allow the survey to go on 
Sir Donald thought it best to give these reserves to pacify 
the objectors. Besides this, the Ngatiraukawas had large 
claims elsewhere, and lately have got a considerable 


amount of money for timber rights in the Hauhungaroa 
and Puketapii blocks near the Main Trunk Line. 

A very curious point arose when the general Govern- 
ment, through Sir Donald McLean, allocated to various 
natives reserves on the block as douceurs to quieten their 
clamour. Dr. Featherston, as Superintendent of the Wel- 
lington Province, claimed compensation for land which 
belonged to the Province, but which had been given away 
by the Native Minister, who was a Minister of the Crown 
in the General Government. Although the point was 
pressed for some time, it was not gone on with. 

All these meetings, differences, threatenings and dis- 
cussions, culminated in the sale of the land to Dr. 
Featherston. The Dr. always firmly stated that, until 
some fairly unanimous opinion was arrived at, he was 
not prepared to purchase the block. He did not expect 
a unanimous agreement ; but, if only a few stood out, he 
was prepared to deal with them and purchase the block 
as a whole from the sellers. The non-sellers numbered 
in all about sixty. These were principally — Parakaia, the 
Ransfields (who had claims, although they lived at Ohau), 
the Ngatikauwhatu hapu at Awahuri (except Tapa te 
Whata), Miritana te Rongiwhakaruru, Keremehama and 
Peti (his wife), (father and mother of Mrs. Tom 
Richardson), and Wirita Kimati on the Rangitikei River. 

To this latter section the Court awarded 1,000 acres 
at Mangamahoe. I see I have a note, however, that one 
of these, Miritana, was allotted a piece of land at Mata- 
hiwi, but he also took some of the purchase money after- 
wards. This same man was rather demonstrative. Mr. 
J. T. Stewart was sent by the Government to Mount 
Alexander, near the Makowai, to try and estimate the 
area of land south of that trig. It was understood that 
Miritana intended making a demonstration against this, 
and Constable McAnulty of Bulls was in attendance. 
When the Maori and his few followers came dancing up to 
demolish the "Taipo," as they called the theodolite, 


"Mac." caught Miritana, slipped the handcuffs on and 
took him off without further resistance. 

If there were differences before the sale took place, 
they became worse after the sale. The non-sellers finding 
a very simple means of creating a disturbance. When the 
surveyors went on to the ground, a number of women 
went and took forcible possession of the instruments, and 
the surveyor could do nothing but go back to his camp 
and report the matter to his chief. Then those in 
authority would come up to quell the disturbance, to be 
met with the full force of the talk which only Maoris can 
produce. The game was played in good humour, and the 
settlers did not fear any consequences, but it was a game 
the Maoris excelled in. Time was no object to them: 
they had nothing to lose by delay, and gradually all took 
a hand it it: and there was a general scramble for 
reserves alike by sellers and non-sellers, and Sir Donald 
McLean with rather lavish hand distributed these (to 
prevent further interference), and on the portion near the 
Rangitikei River. 

During this time there were also disputes about the 
impounded rents. When Dr. Featherston bought the land 
he intimated to the tenants of the runs that the rents must 
be paid to the Government ; which as they had bought the 
land, and paid the purchase money, they were entitled to 
the receipts. These rents amounted to £4,699. And,' 
although it seems that Dr. Featherston was quite right 
to consider the money to belong to the Provincial Govern- 
ment, he apparently thought it wiser to pay it over; but 
the Maoris could not agree to the distribution, yet they 
showed great confidence in the Superintendent, for they 
asked him to make a division, which he did, giving to the 
three Ngatiraukawa hapiis £1,600, the Rangitanes £550, 
and the Ngatiapa tribe £2,545. 

There were still some Maoris living up the river at 
the Reu Reu above Kakariki, who, though not claiming 
that the block belonged to them, clamoured for Reserves. 
They had come down at a later date to Te Rauparaha's 


migration, and therefore were not in the same position as 
those who had fought their way down. A Reserve of 
4,000, acres was set aside for them, extending from 
Kakariki along the eastern banks of the river to the 
Waitapu creek, the northern boundary of the block. These 
natives belonged to the Ngatirangatahi, Ngatipikiahu 
sections of the Ngatiraukawa tribe, and there were also 
some Ngatimaniapotos amongst them, no doubt in some 
way connected with the Ngatiraukawa. One of them 
was Wi Pukapuka, who was of some importance, and 
seems, when the disputes as to ownership and rents 
occurred, to have taken part in them down at Matahiwi, 
and to have got a share of the utu in consequence. 

A good story is told of one of the natives, "Wi Pata. 
He was a curious creature, splendid shearer, who got 
drunk like a lord and made an awful noise when tipsy. 
His appearance would lead one to suppose he had negro 
blood in his veins, and his curly hair was quite marked. 
Being a good shearer he could make plenty of money, 
and knew all the pakehas well and was fond of their 

After the railway went through Halcombe it so hap- 
pened that two trains started from that station, each 
going different ways. They were therefore backed van 
to van. Wi Pata watched his chance, and finding them 
once so close he could couple them together he successfully 
did so, and awaited the result with expectation. The 
engines tugged, and Wi jumped for glee, and shouted, 
"Kapai the Engine," and many other irrelevancies not 
quotable. Eventually it was found why the trains did not 
start and Wi Pata got a month in Whanganui gaol. 



The deed was duly signed and witnessed, as will be seen 
by referring to the appendix. I have not given the names 
in full as a great many signed who really had no claim 
at all; Mr. BuUer's zeal, however, to get signatures was 
such that he got many useless names attached to the deed. 

The scene at Parewanui during the sale was most 
picturesque, and has been graphically told in Sir Charles 
Dilke's "Greater Britain," and he, as well as the present 
head of the publishers, Macmillan and Co.,* have very 
kindly given me permission to reproduce it here, and for 
this kind permission I desire to offer my grateful thanks. 


"Here is P6tatone. 
This is the 10th of December; 
The sun shines, and the birds sing; 
Clear is the water in rivers and streams; 
Bright is the Sky, and the sun is high in the air. 
This is the 10th of December; 
But where is the money? 
Three years has this matter in many debates been 

And here at last is Petaton^; 
But where is the money?" 

A band of Maori women slowly chanting in a high, 
strained key, stood at the gate of the pa, and met with this 
song a few Englishmen who were driving rapidly on to 
their land. 

Our track lay through a swamp of the New Zealand 
flax. Huge sword-like leaves and giant flower-stalks all 
but hid from view the Maori stockades. To the left was a 
village of low whares, fenced round with a double row of 
lofty posts, carved with rude images of gods and men, 
and having posterns here and there. On the right were 

*Both these gentlemen are dead since the permission was given. 


groves of karakas, children of Tanemahuta, the New 
Zeahind sacred trees — under their shade, on a hill, a camp 
and another large pa. In startling contrast to the dense 
masses of the oily leaves, there stretched a great extent of 
light-green sward, where there were other camps and a 
tall flag-staff, from which floated the white flag and the 
Union Jack, emblems of British sovereignty and peace. 

A thousand kilted Maoris dotted the green landscape 
with patches of brilliant tartans and scarlet cloth. Women 
lounged about, whiling away the time with dance and 
song ; and from all the comers of the glade the soft cadence 
of the Maori cry of welcome came floating to us on the 
breeze, sweet as the sound of distant bells. 

As we drove quickly on, we found ourselves in the 
midst of a thronging crowd of square-built men, brown 
in colour, and for the most part not much darker than the 
Spaniards, but with here and there a woolly negro in their 
ranks. Glancing at them as we were hurried past, we saw 
that the men were robust, well limbed, and tall. They 
greeted us pleasantly with many a cheerful, open smile, 
but the faces of the older people were horribly tattooed 
in spiral curves. The chiefs carried battle-clubs of jade 
and bone; the women wore strange ornaments. At the 
flag-staff we pulled up, and, while the preliminaries of 
the council were arranged, had time to discuss with Maori 
and with pakeJia (white man) the questions that had 
brought us thither. 

The purchase of an enormous block of land — ^that of 
the Manawatu — ^had long been an object wished for and 
worked for by the Provincial Government of Wellington. 
The completion of the sale it was that had brought the 
Superintendent, Dr Featherston, and humbler pdkehas to 
Parewanui pa. It was not only that the land was wanted 
by way of room for the flood of settlers, but purchase by 
Government was, moreover, the only means whereby war 
between the various native claimants of the land could be 
prevented. The pakeha and Maori had agreed upon a 
price ; the question that remained for settlement was how 


the money should be shared. One tribe had owned the 
land from the earliest time ; another had conquered some 
miles of it; a third had had one of its chiefs cooked and 
eaten upon the ground. In the eye of the Maori law, the 
last of these titles was the best : the blood of a chief over- 
rides all mere historic claims. The two strongest human 
motives concurred to make war probable, for avarice and 
jealousy alike prevented agreement as to the division of 
the spoil. Each of the three tribes claiming had half-a- 
dozen allied and related nations upon the ground; every 
man was there who had a claim direct or indirect, or 
thought he had, to any portion of the block. Individual 
ownership and tribal ownership conflicted. The Ngatiapa 
were well armed; the Ngatiraukawa had their rifles; the 
Wanganuis had sent for theirs. The greatest tact on the 
part of Dr. Featherston was needed to prevent a fight 
such as would have roused New Zealand from Auckland to 
Port Nicholson. 

On a signal from the Superintendent, the heralds went 
round the camps and pds to call the tribes to council. The 
summons was a long-drawn, minor-descending-scale: a 
plaintive cadence, which at a distance blends into a bell- 
like chord. The words mean: "Come hither! Come 

hither ! Come ! come ! Maories ! Come ! ' ' and men, 

women, and children soon came thronging in from every 
side, the chiefs bearing sceptres and spears of ceremony, 
and their women wearing round their necks the symbol of 
nobility, the HeitiJci, or greenstone god. These images, 
we were told, have pedigrees, and names like those of 

"We, with the resident magistrate of Wanganui, seated 
ourselves beneath the flag-staff. A chief, meeting the 
people as they came up, stayed them with the gesture that 
Homer ascribes to Hector, and bade them sit in the huge 
circle round the spar. 

No sooner were we seated on our mat than there ran 
slowly into the centre of the ring a plumed and kilted 
chief, with sparkling eyes, the perfection of a savage. 


Halting suddenly, he raised himself upon his toes, 
frowned, and stood brandishing his short feathered spear. 
It was Hunia te Hakeke, the young chief of the Ngatiapa. 

Throwing off his plaid, he commenced to speak, 
springing hither and thither with leopard-like freedom of 
gait, and sometimes leaping high into the air to emphasize 
a word. Fierce as were the gestures, his speech was con- 
ciliatory, and the Maori flowed from his lips — a soft 
Tuscan tongue. As, with a movement full of vigorous 
grace, he sprang back to the ranks to take his seat, there 
ran round the ring a hum and buzz of popular applause. 

"Governor" Hunia was followed by a young Wan- 
ganui chief, who wore hunting-breeches and high boots, 
and a long black mantle over his European clothes. There 
was something odd in the shape of the cloak; and when 
we came to look closely at it, we found that it was the 
skirt of the riding-habit of his half-caste wife. The great 
chiefs paid so little heed to this flippant fellow, as to 
stand up and harangue their tribes in the middle of his 
speech, which came thus to an untimely end. 

A funny old grey-beard, Waitere Maru Maru, next rose, 
and, smothering down the jocularity of his fa<je, turned 
towards us for a moment the typical head of Peter, as you 
see it on the windows of every modern church — for a 
moment only; for, as he raised his hand to wave his 
tribal sceptre his apostolic drapery began to slip from 
off his shoulders, and he had to clutch at it with the 
energy of a topman taking-in a reef in a whole gale. 
His speech was full of Nestorian proverbs and wise saws, 
but he wandered off into a history of the Wanganui lands, 
by which he soon became as wearied as we ourselves were ; 
for he stopped short, and, with a twinkle of the eye, said : 
"Ah! Waitere is no longer young; he is climbing the 
snow-clad mountain Ruahine; he is becoming an old 
man ' ' ; and down he sat. 

Karanama, a small Ngatiraukawa chief with a white 
moustache, who looked like an old French concierge, 
followed Maru Maru, and, with much use of his sceptre. 


related a dream foretelling the happy issue of the negotia- 
tions; for the little man was one of those ** dreamers of 
dreams" against whom Moses warned the Israelites. 

Karanama's was not the only trance and vision of 
which we heard in the course of these debates. The 
Maoris believe that in their dreams the seers hear great 
bands of spirits singing chants : these when they wake the 
prophets reveal to all the people; but it is remarked that 
the vision is generally to the advantage of the seer's tribe. 

Karanama's speech was answered by the head-chief 
of the Rangitane Maoris, Te Peeti Te Awe Awe, who, 
throwing off his upper clothing as he warmed to his 
subject, and strutting pompously round and round the 
ring, challenged Karanama to immediate battle, or his 
tribe to general encounter; but he cooled down as he 
went on, and in his last sentence showed us that Maori 
oratory, however ornate usually, can be made extremely 
terse. "It is hot, ' ' he said — * ' it is hot, and the very birds 
are loath to sing. We have talked for a week, and are 
therefore dry. Let us take our share — £10,000, or what- 
ever we can get — and then we shall be dry no more. ' ' 

The Maori custom of walking about, dancing, leaping, 
undressing, running, brandishing spears during the 
delivery of a speech is convenient for all parties; to the 
speaker, because it gives him time to think of what he 
shall say next; to the listener, because it allows him to 
weigh the speaker's words; to the European hearer, 
because it permits the interpreter to keep pace with the 
orator without an effort. On this occasion, the resident 
magistrate of Wanganui — Mr. Duller, a Maori scholar of 
eminence, and the attached friend of some of the chiefs — 
interpreted for Dr. Featherston; and we were allowed to 
lean over him in such a way as to hear every word that 
passed. That the able Superintendent of Wellington — ^the 
great protector of the Maoris, the man to whom they 
look as to Queen Victoria's second in command, should be 
wholly dependent upon interpreters, however skilled, 
seems almost too singular to be believed ; but it is possible 


that Dr. Featherston may find in pretended want of know- 
ledge much advantage to the Government. He is able to 
collect his thoughts before he replies to a difficult ques- 
tion; he can allow an epithet to escape his notice in the 
filter of translation ; he can listen and speak with greater 

The day was wearing on before Te Peeti's speech was 
done, and, as the Maories say, our waistbands began to 
slip down low ; so all now went to lunch, both Maori and 
pakeJia, they sitting in circles, each with his bowl, or flax- 
blade dish, and wooden spoon, we having a table and a 
chair or two in the Mission-house ; but we were so tempted 
by Hori Kingi's* whitebait that we begged some of him 
as we passed. The Maoris boil the little fish in milk, and 
flavour them with leeks. Great fish, meat, vegetables, 
almost all they eat, in short, save whitebait, is 'steamed" 
in the underground native oven. A hole is dug, and filled 
with wood, and stones are piled upon the wood, a small 
opening being left for draught. While the wood is burning, 
stones become red-hot, and fall through into the hole. 
They are then covered with damp fern, or else with wet 
mats of flax, plaited at the moment; the meat is put 
in, and covered with more mats; the whole is sprinkled 
with water, and then earth is heaped on till the vapour 
ceases to escape. The joint takes about an hour, and is 
delicious. Fish is wrapped in a kind of dock-leaf, and 
so steamed. 

While the men's eating was thus going on, many of 
the women stood idly round, and we were enabled to 
judge of Maori beauty. A profusion of long, crisp curls, 
a short black pipe thrust between stained lips, a pair of 
black eyes gleaming from a tattooed face, denote the 
Maori belle, who wears for her only robe a long bed- 
gown of dirty calico, but whose ears and neck are tricked 
out with greenstone ornaments, the signs of birth and 
wealth. Here and there you find a girl with long, smooth 

*Hori Kingi te Anansia died on the 18th of September, 1868. 


tresses, and almond-shaped black eyes; these charms often 
go along with prominent, thin features, and suggest at 
once the Jewess and the gipsy girl. The women smoke 
continually ; the men not much. 

When at four o'clock we returned to the flag-staff, we 
found that the temperature, which during the morning 
had been too hot, had become that of a fine English June — 
the air light, the trees and grass lit by a gleaming yellow 
sunshine that reminded me of the Califomian haze. 

During luncheon we had heard that Dr. Featherston's 
proposals as to the division of the purchase-money had 
been accepted by the Ngatiapa, but not by Hunia himself, 
whose vanity would brook no scheme not of his own con- 
ception, "We were no sooner returned to the ring than he 
burst in upon us with a defiant speech. "Unjust," he 
declared, "as was the proposition of great 'Petatone' 
(Featherston), he would have accepted it for the sake of 
peace had he been allowed to divide the tribal share ; but 
as the Wanganuis insisted on having a third of his £15,000, 
and as Petatone seemed to support them in their claim, he 
should have nothing more to do with the sale." "The 
"Wanganuis claim as our relatives," he said: "verily, the 
pumpkin-shoots spread far." 

Karanama, the seer, stood up to answer Hunia, and 
began his speech in a tone of ridicule. "Hunia is like the 
ti-tree: if you cut him down he sprouts again." Hunia 
sat quietly through a good deal of this kind of wit, till 
at last some epithet provoked him to interrupt the 
speaker. * ' What a fine fellow you are, Karanama ; you '11 
tell us soon that you've two pair of legs." "Sit down!" 
shrieked Karanama, and a word-war ensued, but the 
abuse was too full of native raciness and vigour to be fit 
for English ears. The chiefs kept dancing round the ring, 
threatening each other with their spears, ""Why do not 
you hurl at me, Karanama?" said Hunia; "it is easier 
to parry spears than lies." At last Hunia sat down. 

Karanama, feinting and making at him with his spear, 
reproached Hunia with a serious flaw in his pedigree — a 


blot which is said to account for Hunia's hatred to the 
Ngatiraukawa, to whom his mother was for years a slave. 
Hunia, without rising from the ground, shrieked "Liar!" 
Karanama again spoke the obnoxious word. Springing from 
the ground, Hunia snatched his spear from where it stood, 
and ran at his enemy as though to strike him. Karanama 
stood stock-still. Coming up to him at a full charge, Hunia 
suddenly stopped, raised himself on tiptoe, shaking his 
spear, and flung out some contemptuous epithet; then 
turned, and stalked slowly, with a springing gait, back to 
his own comer of the ring. There he stood, haranguing 
his people in a bitter undertone. Karanama did the like 
with his. The interpreters could not keep pace with what 
was said. We understood that the chiefs were calling 
each upon his tribe to support him, if need were, in war. 
After a few minutes of this pause, they wheeled round, as 
though by a common impulse, and again began to pour 
out torrents of abuse. The applause became frequent, 
hums quickened into shouts, cheer followed cheer, till at 
last the ring was alive with men and women springing 
from the ground, and crying out on the opposing leader 
for a dastard. 

We had previously been told to have no fear that 
resort would be had to blows. The Maoris never fight upon 
a sudden quarrel : war is with them a solemn act, entered 
upon only after much deliberation. Those of us who were 
strangers to New Zealand were nevertheless not without 
our doubts, while for half an hour we lay upon the grass 
watching the armed champions running round the ring, 
challenging each other to mortal combat on the spot. 

The chieftains at last became exhausted, and the Mis- 
sion-bell beginning to toll for evening chapel, Hunia broke 
off in the middle of his abuse: *'Ah! I hear the bell!" and 
turning, stalked out of the ring towards his pa, leaving 
it to be inferred, by those who did not know him, that he 
was going to attend the service. The meeting broke up in 
confusion, and the Upper Wanganui tribes at once began 


their march towards the mountains, leaving behind them 
only a delegation of their chiefs. 

In the morning, we rose to alarming news. Upon the 
pretext of the presence in the neighbourhood, of the Hau- 
Hau chief Wi Hapi, with a war party of 200 men, the 
unarmed Parewanui natives had sent to Wanganui for 
their guns, and it was only by a conciliatory speech at the 
midnight runanga that Mr, BuUer had succeeded in pre- 
venting a complete break-up of all the camps, if not an 
intertribal war. There seemed to be white men behind the 
scenes who were not friendly to the sale, and the debate 
had lasted from dark till dawn. 

While we were at breakfast, a Ngatiapa officer of the 
native contingent brought down a letter to Dr. Feather- 
ston from Hunia and Hori Kingi, calling us to a general 
meeting of the tribes convened for noon, to be held in the 
Ngatiapa pa. The letter was addressed, "Kia te Petatone 
te Huperintene" — '*To the Featherston, the Superin- 
tendent" — the alterations in the chief words being made 
to bring them within the grasp of Maori tongues, which 
cannot sound f 's, th's, nor sibilants of any kind. 

When we drove on to the ground, all was at a dead- 
lock — the flag-staff bare, the chiefs sleeping in their 
whares, and the common folk whiling away the hours with 
haka songs. Dr. Featherston retired from the ground, 
declaring that till the Queen's flag was hoisted he would 
attend no debate ; but he permitted us to wander in among 
the Maoris. 

We were introduced to Tamihana te Rauparaha, chief 
of the Ngatitoa branch of the Ngatiraukawa, and son of 
the great cannibal chief of the same name who murdered 
Captain Wakefield. Old Rauparaha it was who hired an 
English ship to carry him and his nation to the South 
Island, where they ate several tribes, boiling the chiefs, 
by the captain 's consent, in the ship 's coppers, and salting 
down for future use the common people. When the cap- 
tain, on return to port, claimed his price, Rauparaha told 
him to go about his business, or he should be salted too. 


The captain took the hint, but he did not escape for long, 
as he was finally eaten by the Sandwich Islanders in 

In answer to our request for a dance-song, Tamihana 
and Horomona Toremi replied through an interpreter 
that "the hands of the singers should beat time as fast 
as the pinions of the wild duck"; and in a minute we 
were in the middle of an animated crowd of boys and 
women collected by Porea, the buffoon. 

As soon as the singers had squatted upon the grass, the 
jester began to run slowly up and down between theiir 
ranks as they sat swinging backwards and forwards in 
regular time, groaning in chorus, and looking upwards 
with distorted faces. 

In a second dance, a girl standing out upon the grass 
chanted the air — a kind of capstan song — and then the 
"dancers," who were seated in one long row, joined in 
chorus, breathing violently in perfect time, half forming 
words, but not notes, swinging from side to side like 
the howling dervishes, and using frightful gestures. This 
strange whisper-roaring went on increasing in rapidity 
and fierceness, till at last the singers worked themselves 
into a frenzy, in which they rolled their eyes, stiffened the 
arms and legs, clutched and clawed with the fingers, and 
snorted like maddened horses. Stripping off their clothes, 
they looked more like the Maoris of thirty years ago 
than those who see them only at the mission-stations would 
believe. Other song-dances, in which the singers stood 
striking their heels at measured intervals upon the earth, 
were taken up with equal vigour by the boys and women, 
the grown men in their dignity keeping themselves aloof, 
although in his heart every Maori loves mimetic dance 
and song. We remarked that in the haka the old women 
seemed more in earnest than the young, who were always 
bursting into laughter, and forgetting words and time. 

The savage love for semitones makes Maori music 
somewhat wearisome to the English ear; so after a time 
we began to walk through the pas and sketch the Maoris, 


to their great delight. I was drawing the grand old head 
of a venerable dame — Oriuhia te Aka — when she asked 
to see what I was about. As soon as I showed her the 
sketch, she began to call me names, and from her gestures 
I saw that the insult was in the omission of the tattooing 
on her chin. When I inserted the stripes and curves, her 
delight was such that I greatly feared she would have 
embraced me. 

Strolling into the karaka groves, we came upon a 
Maori wooden tomb, of which the front was carved with 
figures three feet high, grotesque and obscene. Gigantic 
eyes, hands bearing clubs, limbs without bodies, and 
bodies without limbs, were figured here and there among 
more perfect carvings, and the whole was of a character 
which the Maoris of to-day disown, as they do cannibalism, 
wishing to have these horrid things forgotten. The sud- 
den rise of the Hau-Hau fanaticism within the last few 
years has shown us that the layer of civilization by which 
the old Maori habits are overlaid is thin indeed. 

The flags remained down all day, and in the afternoon 
we returned to the coast to shoot duck and pukeko, a sort 
of moor-hen. It was not easy work, for the birds fell in 
the flax-swamp, and the giant sword-like leaves of the 
"phormium tenax" cut our hands as we pushed our way 
through its dense clumps and bushes, while some of the 
party suffered badly from the sun : Maui, the Maoris say, 
must have chained him up too near the earth. After dark, 
we could see the glare of the fires in the karaka groves, 
where the Maoris were in council, and a Government sur- 
veyor came in to report that he had met the dissentient 
Wanganuis riding fast towards the hills. 

In the morning, we were allowed to stay upon the coast 
till ten or eleven o'clock, when a messenger came down 
from Mr. Buller to call us to the pa: the council of the 
chiefs had again sat all night — for the Maoris act upon 
their proverb that the eyes of great chiefs should know 
no rest — and Hunia had carried everything before him in 
the debate. 


As soon as the ring was formed, Hunia apologized for 
the pulling down of the Queen's flag; it had been done, he 
said, as a sign that the sale was broken off, not as an act 
of disrespect. Having, in short, had things entirely his 
own way, he was disposed to be extremely friendly both 
to whites and Maoris. The sale, he said, must be brought 
about, or the "world would be on fire with an intertribal 
war. What is the good of the mountain-land? There is 
nothing to eat but stones; granite is a hard but not a 
strengthening food ; and women and land are the ruin of 

After congratulatory speeches from other chiefs, some 
of the older men treated us to histories of the deeds that 
had been wrought upon the block of land. Some of their 
speeches — ^notably those of Aperahama and Ihakara — were 
largely built up of legendary poems; but the orators 
quoted the poetry as such only when in doubt how far 
the sentiments were those of the assembled people : when 
they were backed by the hum which denotes applause, they 
at once commenced with singular art to weave the poetry 
into that which was their own. 

As soon as the speeches were over, Hunia and Ihakara 
marched up to the flag-staff carrying between them the 
deed-of-sale. Putting it down before Dr. Featherston, 
they shook hands with each other and with him, and swore 
that for the future there should be eternal friendship 
between their tribes. The deed was then signed by many 
hundred men and women, and Dr. Featherston started 
with Captain te Kepa,* of the native contingent, to fetch 
the £25,000 from Wanganui town, the Maoris firing their 
rifles into the air as a salute. 

The Superintendent was no sooner gone than a kind 
of solemn grief seemed to come over the assembled people. 
After all, they were selling the graves of their ancestors, 
they argued. The wife of Hamuera, seizing her husband's 
greenstone club, ran out from the ranks of women, and 

*Wounded at the defence of Okutuku, against the escaped 
Hau-Haus, 7th of November, 1868. 


began to intone an impromptu song, which was echoed by 
the women, in a pathetic chorus-chant : — 

"The sun shines, but we quit our land; we abandon for ever its 

forests, its mountains, its groves, its lakes, its shores. 
All its fair fisheries, here, under the bright sun, for ever we renounce. 
It is a lovely day; fair will be the children, that are bom to-day; but 

we quit our land. 
In some parts there is forest; in others, the ground is skimmed over 

by the birds in their flight. 
Upon the trees there is fruit; in the streams, fish; in the fields 

potatoes; fern -roots in the bush; but we quit our land." 

It is in chorus-speeches of this kind that David's 
psalms must have been recited by the Jews; but on this 
occasion there was a good deal of mere acting in the grief, 
for the tribes had never occupied the land that they now 

The next day Dr. Featherston drove into camp sur- 
rounded by a brilliant cavalcade of Maori cavalry, amid 
much yelling and firing of pieces skywards. Hunia, in 
receiving him, declared that he would not have the money 
paid till the morrow, as the sun must shine upon the 
transfer of the lands. It would take his people all the 
night, he said, to work themselves up to the right pitch 
for a war-dance ; so he sent down a strong guard to watch 
the money-chests, which had been conveyed to the mis- 
sionary hut. The Ngatiapa sentry posted inside the room 
was an odd cross between savagery and civilization; he 
wore the cap of the native contingent, and nothing else 
but a red kilt. He was armed with a short Wilkinson rifle, 
for which he had, however, not a round of ammunition, 
his cartridges being Enfield and his piece unloaded. Bar- 
barian or not, he seemed to like raw gin, with which some 
Englishmen had unlawfully and unfairly tempted him. 

In the morning, the money was handed over in the 
runanga-house, and a signet-ring presented to Hunia by 
Dr. Featherston in pledge of peace, and memory of the 
sale; but owing to the heat, we soon adjourned to the 
karaka grove, where Hunia made a congratulatory and 
somewhat boastful speech, offering his friendship and 
alliance to Dr. Featherston. 


The assembly was soon dismissed, and the chiefs with- 
drew to prepare for the grandest war-dance that had been 
seen for years, while a party went off to catch and kill 
the oxen that were to be "steamed" whole, just as our 
friends' fathers would have steamed us. 

A chief was detached by Hunia to guide us to a hill 
whence we commanded the whole glade. No sooner had 
we taken our seats than the Ngatiraukawa to the number 
of a hundred fighting-men, armed with spears, and led by 
a dozen women bearing clubs, marched out from their 
camp, and formed in column, their chiefs making speeches 
of exhortation from the ranks. After a pause, we heard 
the measured groaning of a distant haka, and, looking up 
the glade, at the distance of a mile saw some two score 
Wanganui warriors jumping in perfect time, now to one 
side, now to the other, grasping their rifles by the barrel, 
and raising them as one man each time they jumped. Pre- 
sently, bending one knee, but stiffening the other leg, 
they advanced, stepping together with a hopping move- 
ment, slapping their hips and thighs, and shouting from 
the palate, "Hough! Hough!" with fearful emphasis. 

A shout from the Ngatiraukawa hailed the approach 
of the Ngatiapa, who deployed from the woods some two 
hundred strong, all armed with Enfield rifles. They united 
with the Wanganuis, and marched slowly down with their 
rifles at the "charge," steadily singing war-songs. When 
within a hundred yards of the opposing ranks, they halted, 
and sent in their challenge. The Ngatiraukawa and 
Ngatiapa heralds passed each other in silence, and each 
delivered his message to the hostile chief. 

We could see that the allies were led by Hunia in all 
the bravery of his war-costume. In his hair he wore a heron 
plume, and another was fastened near the muzzle of his 
short carbine ; his limbs were bare, but about his shoulders 
he had a pure white scarf of satin. His kilt was gauze- 
silk, of three colours — pink, emerald, and cherry — 
arranged in such a way as to show as much of the green 
as of the two other colours. The contrast, which upon 


a white skin would have been glaring in its ugliness, was 
perfect when backed by the nut-brown of Hunia's chest 
and legs. As he ran before his tribe, he was the ideal 

The instant that the heralds had returned, a charge 
took place, the forces passing through each other's ranks 
as they do upon the stage, but with frightful yells. After 
this, they formed two deep, in three companies, and danced 
the "musket-exercise war-dance" in wonderful time, the 
women leading, thrusting out their tongues, and shaking 
their long pendant breasts. Among them was Hamuera's 
wife, standing drawn up to her full height, her limbs 
stiffened, her head thrown back, her mouth wide open 
and tongue protruding, her eyes rolled so as to show the 
white, and her arms stretched out in front of her, as she 
slowly chanted. The illusion was perfect : she became for 
the time a mad prophetess ; yet all the frenzy was assumed 
at a whim, to be cast aside in half an hour. The shouts 
were of the same under-breath kind as in the haka, but 
they were aided by the sounds of horns and conch-shells, 
and from the number of men engaged the noise was this 
time terrible. After much fierce singing, the musket-dance 
was repeated, with furious leaps and gestures, till the men 
became utterly exhausted, when the review was closed by 
a general discharge of rifles. Running with nimble feet, 
the dancers were soon back within their pas, and the 
feast, beginning now, was, like a Russian banquet, pro- 
longed till morning. 

It is not hard to understand the conduct of Lord Dur- 
ham's settlers, who landed here in 1837. The friendly 
natives received the party with a war-dance, which had 
upon them such an effect that they immediately took ship 
for Australia, where they remained. 

The next day, when we called on Governor Hunia at 
his i(;Jiare to bid him farewell, before our departure for 
the capital, he made two speeches to us which are worth 
recording as specimens of Maori oratory. Speaking 


through Mr. BuUer, who had been kind enough to escort 
us to the Ngatiapa 's whare, Hunia said : — 

"Hail, guests! You have just now seen the settlement 
of a great dispute — ^the greatest of modern time. 

"This was a weighty trouble — a grave difficulty. 

"Many Pakehas have tried to settle it — in vain. For 
Petatone was it reserved to end it. I have said that great 
is our gratitude to Petatone. 

"If Petatone hath need of me in the future, I shall be 
there. If he climbs the lofty tree, I will climb it with him. 
If he scales high cliffs, I will scale them too. If Petatone 
needeth help, he shall have it; and where he leads, there 
will I follow. 

"Such are the words of Hunia." 

To this speech one of us replied, explaining our posi- 
tion as guests from Britain. 

Hunia then began again to speak: — 

"0 my guests, a few days since when asked for a war- 
dance, I refused. I refused because my people were sad at 

"We were loath to refuse our guests, but the tribes 
were grieved ; the people were sorrowful at heart. 

"To-day we are happy, and the war-dance has taken 

"O my guests, when ye return to our great Queen, tell 
her that we will fight for her again as we have fought 

She is our Queen as well as your Queen — Queen of 
Maoris and Queen of Pakeha. 

"Should wars arise, we will take up our rifles, and 
march whithersoever she shall direct. 

"You have heard of the King movement. I was a 
Kingite; but that did not prevent me fighting for the 
Queen — I and my chiefs. 

"My cousin, Wiremu, went to England, and saw our 
Queen. He returned. . . . 

"When you landed in this island, he was already 
dead. . . . 


* ' He died fighting for our Queen. 

"As he died, we will die, if need be — I and all my 
chiefs. This do you tell our Queen. 

"I have said." 

This passage, spoken as Hunia spoke it, was one of 
noble eloquence and singular rhetoric art. The first few 
words about Wiremu were spoken in a half-indifferent 
way; but there was a long pause before and after the 
statement that he was dead, and a sinking of the voice 
when he related how Wiremu had died, followed py a 
burst of sudden fire in the "As he died, we will die — I 
and all my chiefs." 

After a minute or two, Hunia resumed : — 

This is another word. 

* ' We are all of us glad to see you. 

"When we wrote to Petatone, we asked him that he 
would bring with him PakeJias from England and from 
Australia — Pakekas from all parts of the Queen's broad 

' ' Pakekas who should return to tell the Queen that the 
Ngatiapa are her liegemen. 

"We are much rejoiced that you are here. May your 
heart rest here among us ; but if you go once more to your 
English home, tell the people that we are Petatone 's 
faithful subjects and the Queen's. 

"I have said." 

After pledging Hunia in a cup of wine, we returned to 
our temporary home. 

If the scene so well described was picturesque, I regret 
to say that it became a debauch after the money was paid 
over. The Maoris had learnt from the Pckeha many of 
his evil ways, and it is better to draw a veil over the 
whole proceedings, by adding that it was a thousand 
pities that some provision had not been made to protect 
the Maoris from what took place. 

The purchase of the land did not, however, quieten 
the non-sellers. We have already seen that Judges Fenton 


and Maning had given judgment practically in favour 
of the Ngatiapa tribe, with certain reservations for three 
of the hapus of the Ngatiraukawas. Two of these hapus 
were more or less satisfied, viz., the Ngatikahoro and 
Ngatiparewahawaha. The third hapu, the Ngatikauwhata 
were entirely dissatisfied. They had already appointed 
Mr. Alick McDonald as their agent, and by becoming so, 
he had incurred the ire of Sir William Fox and Dr. 
Featherston,* but he was so impressed by the position that 
some of his old friends were placed in that he threw dis- 
cretion to the winds, and entered heart and soul into the 
case. It was a very quixotic action, for he had apparently 
nothing to gain by it, and a great deal to lose. But he 
was not one of those who counted the cost. He acted 
with such zeal on their behalf that his hapu were in the 
end extremely well treated. 

By the judgment, Mr. McDonald says, they obtained 
4,500 acres at Awahuri, and three other reserves of 500 
acres, 1,000 acres and 200 acres. To be divided amongst 
35 Maoris this was a large area. To the whole of the 
non-sellers, however, in 1871 "Sir Donald Maclean gave 
20,000 acres in various areas, and paid considerable sums 
of money as compensation for the loss of individual 
cultivation." To those who know what a common thing 
it is for the Maori to shift his cultivations, the payment 
seems to have been generous. 

There was further trouble because the Maoris could 
not deal with the land, they had no title, and Mr. McDonald 
did a very rash thing; the bridge over the Oroua at 
Awahuri had just been completed, so that the coach route, 
which at that time either ran up past Sandon or by 
Scott's, I forget which, was altered, and it was to go by 
the Bulls-Palmerston road. Andrew Young himself was 
driving, and after changing horses, they started to cross 
the bridge. Mr. McDonald, in order to bring the matter 

*Mr. McDonald was then Sheep Inspector under the Wellington 
Provincial Government, and Dr. Featherston, Superintendent. 


in dispute to a head, called upon the driver to stop, but 
he did not do so, and Mr. McDonald fired at the leading 
horse, which dropped down, effectually stopping the mail. 
To interfere with Her Majesty's mail was a serious offence, 
and a sentence of three years' imprisonment was imposed 
upon him. It was thought the horse was killed, but this 
was not so, for years afterwards he was running into 
Otaki when Mr. A. Hall had the coaches, and there he 
went by the name of **Mac."; the mark could just be 
seen above his right eye, where he had been shot. 

During the time of the sentence the Maoris were 
extremely good to Mrs. McDonald and family. Immedi- 
ately after the offence. Sir James Ferguson came up and 
investigated affairs, and the titles were issued for the 
4,500 acres. As soon as this was done, the hapu ordered 
that 800 acres should be surveyed round Mr. McDonald's 
house, and the necessary deed prepared, and the land was 
transferred to Mrs. McDonald. But that was not all ; they 
mortgaged 2,500 acres of the rest of the land for £1,000, 
and handed the proceeds over to stock the land. Mr. 
McDonald says, "who shall say that Maoris have no sense 
of gratitude." He was soon released, and in 1877 
recovered from the Government the sum of £4,500 for 
expense the non-sellers had been unjustly put to in the 
defence of their land, and that closed the long dispute. 

Although in reading of these troubles they may seem 
trivial, they were very serious at the time. Only a few 
years before, the war had been going on up the Coast, and 
in a new settlement these disturbances were very dis- 
quieting. New settlers coming into a district, and living 
fai^ from neighbours, no doubt magnified the occurrences, 
and felt far from comfortable. But there never was any 
intention of interfering with them in any way. The dis- 
pute was entirely between the Maoris and the Govern- 
ment, and I am sure it never entered the heads of the 
Maoris to do anything against the interests of the settlers. 

They were, in fact, a very fine lot of people, as can 
be seen from their actions in trying to compensate Mr. 


McDonald for his efforts on their behalf. All the old 
settlers spoke of them in the highest terms. To the day 
of his death Mr. McDonald thought them most unjustly 
treated, although others held quite the reverse opinion. 
There was something in his Celtic blood, no doubt, which 
resented injury in any form : even though it might be only 
fancied. He came of the Glencoe McDonalds, who had 
occasion to resent a grievous wrong, and I suppose it was 
hereditary to believe that the Government was doing 
wrong. Mr. McDonald was, however, a delightful com- 
panion, a true friend, and a most upright man, and his old 
friends have very kindly remembrances of him. 

With these episodes settlement went on apace, as we 
shall now see. 



To those who know the great stretch of country 
between the Rangitikei and Manawatu River of recent 
years, it is almost impossible for them to realize what the 
country was like when the first settlement took place. The 
whole country was a wild waste; aU above Halcombe 
(Whakamaetakapu) one apparently interminable bush. 
The Sandon country — *'Whakari" the Maoris called it — 
hills and flats covered with fern, tutu, koromiko, flax, toe- 
toe and manuka scrub, with only a few well defined horse 
tracks between the different settlements and homesteads. 
Here and there a bullock dray track, where, in many cases, 
it looked impossible for a dray to travel, but bullocks are 
patient animals, and time was not so much an object as 
in these days when motor cars are all the vogue, and we 
hear of a Rangitikei boy as an aviator. 

Naturally, horses in those days were of great value, 
and the man who, like Young Lochinvar, could say ' * In all 
the wide border his steed was the best," was, indeed, a 
proud man. Coming from Victoria as I did, where, if 
horses were well bred, they were light and speedy, I was 
much struck with the horses in New Zealand, and wanted 
to take some back with me, but I was unsuccessful in 
buying a very handsome grey horse I had my eye upon. 
There had been a great many really good sires in New 
Zealand from time to time, and the king of them all seems 
to have been "Riddlesworth." His progeny do not seem 
to have been fast, but it was for their staying qualities 
that they were treasured. "Riddlesworth" was imported 
to Wellington by the Hon. Mr. Petre about the year 1843, 
where he served until 1857, when he was sent to Nelson, 
at which place he died in 1861," vide stud book. Mr. 


Cameron, Marangae, had a * ' Riddlesworth " horse, 
"Multum in Parvo," and although not in the stud book, 
was the sire of numerous good hacks. "Figaro" was 
still earlier; he was imported to Wellington in 1841. 
"II Barbiere" was a son of his, who ran very well in the 
races at the time, and sired some good horses. "Frantic" 
and "Glaucus" also stood in the district. Later 
"Traducer," "Ravensworth," and "Peter Flat," all well- 
bred horses, were used : so it is no wonder the Rangitikei 
horses were good. They had to do incredibly long 
journeys in the time under discussion, and often the 
riders would leave Wellington in the morning and travel 
up the Coast, reaching Rangitikei in the evening — a 
journey of some 80 miles. There was thus every reason 
then to value a good horse, and any specially good horse 
was known to the people far and near. 

Besides cattle on the Hikungarara Run, Captain 
Daniel bred a great many horses, and the "E.D." brand 
was known everywhere, and was held in good repute. 
Nearly everyone had special mares, which were noted for 
breeding good horses. 

Mr. Stevens mentions several more sires — an old horse, 
"Peter Finn," no doubt by the celebrated horse of that 
name in Tasmania that did so much for thoroughbreds 
there; Capt. Daniel's "Cymeter," and a half-bred Arab 
called "Sifting," which died just below the cliflE at Bulls. 
Then there were "Phoenix" and "Rubin" in Wellington, 
and another horse called "Garabaldi" that came from 
Eketahuna way, and belonged to Tapa te Whata. Any 
special horse belonging to any settler was as well known 
as the great race horses of the present day. Laurie 
Daniel had some ponies too, and he lent one to each of the 
lads about, to break in and ride. He also gave a prize to 
be raced for, and John Stevens won his first race on his 
pony, and verj' proud he was of it. 

A young fellow called Bromley, with the Campions, had 
a mare from "Sybel" he was very proud of, but she was 
a "terror" to buck. A sailor coming along said he would 


ride her, and to the onlookers' astonishment he got on 
back to front, and she "went to market" in great style 
and bucked away over a steep face, and caused much 
anxiety to the owner. The sailor was not so clever as 
the 'Neils are now and was pitched after a while, and 
the mare escaped with a few scratches. 

There were so few newspapers at that time; stories 
were retailed over log fires ; adventures related, and yam 
capped by yam, till it was time to go to bed. Small 
wonder then, that horses formed a common topic. Even 
the coach horses had a history, a fine big gray mare 
running in the centre of the three leaders from Waikanae 
to Otaki, had belonged to ''Jimmy Fox" at Turakina, and 
went by the name of **Miss Fox." She was eventually 
bought by Mr. Larkworthy, and I daresay many of her 
progeny are about Motoa and Foxton to this day. "Pea- 
cock," a leader, which used to run on the stage out of 
"Wellington, was a picture, and, I think, was elevated 
afterwards to the Governor's carriage. Can we wonder 
that the horses were loved and talked about, for how 
faithfully they served the people then. Well may Pro- 
fessor Huxley write of him as * * our esteemed servant and 
friend, I had almost written colleague." 

These, then, were the animals which had to be 
depended on by the settlers, who, without roads, or any of 
the present day conveniences, settled this big block of 



At this time the Carnarvon portion of the block was 
completely cut off from the Sandon portion by the bush 
which ran along the Makowhai Creek until it crossed the 
Sandon-Foxton road, and then on east until it reached the 
Oroua River. 

As far as I can ascertain, there were several tracks 
through this bush, east and west, but none north and 
south, although the bush may have been traversed on foot. 
The Makowhai was probably difficult to cross on horse- 

The lower portion or Carnarvon side, was the first 
settled. There was very little dispute over this area, and 
I suppose the surveyors were, therefore, not interfered 

Even in this block the first sale did not take place until 
Monday, 27 February, 1871, and it was offered by Mr. 
T. H. Holdsworth, Crown Lands Commissioner, at the 
Town Hall at Martoh. The upset price was £1 per acre. 
According to a map kindly marked by Mr. J. W. 
Marchant, there were not a great many purchasers that 
day. Beginning at "Penny's line," the foUovraig names 
are given, and as they were the first buyers in the block 
perhaps I may record them. W. Payne (where Mr. 
Pearce now lives) ; W. Murray ; B. Eglington, two sec- 
tions ; M. McFarland ; W. Payne ; J. Mitchell. These were 
all on the west side of the main road. T. U. McKenzie 
bought one on the other side. No sections in the bush 
were bought at this sale, when the open was again reached 
Mr. Campion bought two sections. The Campions 
were then living at Pine Creek, and bought that section 
fronting two roads, and another on the opposite side. 



Other purchasers were Messrs. Burne, MeKelvie and 
McKenzie. Mr. Fraser bought the land now owned by 
Mr. R. B. McKenzie; J. Murray and P. J. Richardson 
bought down the tramline near Taikorea. 

The remaining sections, down as far as the Taikorea 
line and a mile east of the tramway line, were again 
offered in Wellington on the 26th day of February, 1872, 
but not many of the sections were sold. Among others, 
Mr. F. Robinson and Mr. MeKelvie seem to have pur- 
chased some more land. T. Crosbie and A. J. Whyte 
bought sections down near Taikorea, where Mr. Scott now 

There was still a large area of land to be disposed of, 
and I find the proclamation was issued by the Superin- 
tendent on 30th November, 1872, offering this land on 
special terms under the provisions of an Act entitled '*An 
Act to provide for the Sale of Land in the Province of 
Wellington on Deferred Payment and for setting apart 
of Land in the Province for Special Settlement," passed 
16th November, 1871. 

The provisions of this Act enabled the Superintendent 
of the Province to set aside 50,000 acres to be disposed 
of under the deferred payment system. And here I might 
say that this system was the most successful system that 
has ever been tried in New Zealand. It enabled men to 
take up land and make it their own on the easiest terms ; 
the payments were made light when the occupier could 
least afford to pay, viz., at the beginning of the occupa- 
tion. In those days, cash was very much more difficult 
to secure. Still, by dint of hard work outside the farms, 
the occupiers were able to meet the payments. The farms 
themselves returned very little; homes had to be built, 
fences erected, and a thousand and one things bought. 
By this system the payments extended over ten years, 
and a man with 200 acres had only to pay £40 a year 
(afterwards this amount was reduced) and at the end of 
the payments the title was issued to him. In the Act 
the mode and terms of sale are set out — ^the price was 



not to be less than 20/- nor more than 40/-. The area 
allowed was not less than 40 acres nor more than 200 
acres; on application the applicant had to deposit one- 
fifth of the price, if there was more than one applicant, 
the land was put up and sold to the highest bidder. 

The second provision was for Special Settlement: 
under this part the Superintendent could set apart one 
hundred thousand acres by Proclamation "on such terms 
as may be sanctioned by the Governor in Council." 
(There were Governors in Council even in those days). 
Under this part of the Act the Superintendent (Dr. 
Featherston) issued a proclamation on 30th November, 

Under this Proclamation Mr. Falconer Larkworthy, 
who was then, I believe, Manager of the Bank of New 
Zealand in Auckland, applied for 7000 acres, and the 
application read as follows: — 

"Application (Special Settlement). 
Application No. 4524 for 7000 acres more or 
less by Falconer Larkworthy on 3rd December, 
1872, £3,500 paid as a 1st instalment of purchase- 
money under the regulations contained in the first 
schedule of the Superintendent's proclamation of 
30th November, 1872. 

Registered 3rd December, 1872, by 

(Signed) W. HOLMES," 
Most of this land consisted of what became known 
as the "Carnarvon Estate," which for a number of years 
was managed by Mr. John Gower. Three sections in 
the bush now owned by Messrs. Rowe Bros, formed part 
of it, north of the Makowhai. No doubt this was taken 
up for the purposes of the timber for fencing and fire 
wood, but later became the most valuable portion of the 
estate. At that time there were no roads, merely tracks; 
but, strange to say, I cannot find any Maori tracks which 
led through this strip of bush. The Makowhai Creek and 
this bush completely cut off the northern or Sandon por- 
tion from the lower or Carnarvon district. When I came 


over from Victoria in January, 1873, I rode with a friend 
and Mr. T. Drummond, a surveyor (who then lived at 
Awahuri and was brother-in-law to Messrs. John and 
Robert Stevens) from Bulls to Foxton, and had to 
traverse this bush. 

I recollect that the Maoris were then occupied in 
cutting the bush on the road line, and we were much 
interested in seeing such a number of people who greeted 
Mr. Drummond with effusion. Near where the men were 
working (or, rather, lying down, for they happened to 
be taking a spell) seemed innumerable women and 
children who were equally effusive, and all hailed us with 
delight. I never knew who they were, but Mr, Tom. 
Richardson gives me the following names of some who 
were working in the bush — Henare Hopa te Ngatiterangi, 
Witane Parere (Kuku), Wirita te Huruhuru, Timuha and 
Kaepa te Taiporatu. 

I shall never forget coming suddenly — in the midst 
of the bush — on these merry, laughing people. As this 
was my first meeting with Maoris, it left a pleasant 

We must have crossed the Mokowhai on some rough 
bridge and then came out into the open country again. 
It seemed an endless, densely covered plain, intersected 
by long narrow sandhills. On one of these we stood to 
view the country, and came upon Mr. Robert Stevens, 
who was then living at the Campions. Looking from this 
sandhill away towards the Tararuas was a dense forest 
with scarcely a soul living in it, except a few scattered 
Maoris. Little did I think I should live to see the day 
that this would be thickly populated by thriving farmers. 
For at that time no one had solved the problem of what 
was to be done with bush country, except to cut it for 
timber. The track we were on was a narrow horse track, 
and it was seldom that we could ride in any other way 
than single file. • 

Mr. Larkworthy sent out some very valuable short- 
horns, that at the time he purchased in England. He 


had gone to London as Manager of the Bank, and there 
was a great craze for the "Duchess" blood. His advisers 
turned rather to fashionable lines of blood than for 
individual merit. But one bull he sent out, ' * Umbelini, "^ 
was a fine robust animal that afterwards went to Oroua 
Downs, where he was much prized. 

The second block offered was all the land north of 
the Makowhai, and running up to the boundary of the 
Hutt Small Farm block on the north, and another block 
to the east of the present tramway line running right past 
Sandon and adjoining Mr. Williams' property and on to 
the cemetery line along this to the Halcombe Mt. Stewart 
road. Thence, along that road past Mt. Stewart, and 
down to Taipo Bush Comer, and thence along the road 
which runs to the tramway line. 

On the sale map of this block is written: "Plan 
showing Sections in the Township of Sandon and Car- 
narvon to be thrown open for Selection on Deferred Pay- 
ment on Tuesday, 19th November, 1872, also of sections 
in the Township of Carnarvon to be offered for Sale by 
Public Auction Wednesday, 20th November, 1872." 

Below, it is noted on the plan — 
"Exhibited at the auction sale at the Crown Lands 
Office, Wellington, 20th November, 1872. 

(Signed) J. G. HOLDSWORTH, 

and again "on 18th December, 1872. 

(Signed) J. G. HOLDSWORTH, 


On the copy of the map which I have before me, on 
the whole of the block east of the Foxton road, as far as 
I can see, only Messrs. Bishop, Mathews, M. Read, Penny, 
and the Hammond Estate are now owned by the original 

Most of the bush land on what is known as Freckling- 
ton's line, belonged to the Peatherston Estate. On 
enquiry, Mrs. Newman, one of Dr. Featherston 's 
daughters, says, "The land was a grant from the Pro- 
vincial Government, in recognition of my father's ser- 


vices in getting the natives to allow the purchase of the 
Manawatu block. It was offered to him and refused, but 
the Provincial Government set aside 2,000 or more acres 
and made it over to my father's heirs some time after his 
death. I think Sir W. Fox and Sir W. Fitzherbert were 
co-trustees at the time, but Sir W. Fox was living in 
England when my father died, so I suppose my brother- 
in-law, C. J. Johnston, took his place. The land was sold 
in bits, and we all shared alike." She adds, "We were 
told a large area consisted of sandhills and was worth- 
less." This land was sold, after I came, to the various 
holders; very little of it has changed hands since, and it 
has probably been the best purchase in the district. The 
land on the Makowhai creek being some of the best 
fattening or dairying land in the neighbourhood. 

Perhaps it might here be explained the reason of the 
frequent mention of the "Township of Sandon" in 
describing these rural lands offered for sale. 

During the war a great deal of land scrip was issued 
to soldiers for serving in New Zealand. This scrip could 
be used in the payment for land, just as in the previous 
land purchases New Zealand land scrip could be used. A 
practice had grown up to buy this scrip from those 
soldiers who had no intention of using it for themselves, 
and many speculators purchased it at much below face 
value. When they had accumulated a sufficient amount 
they purchased land, handed in the scrip (which may have 
been purchased for 10 per cent, of the face value), and 
thus got the land without bringing any money into the 
coffers of the Provincial Government. The Government's 
finance was thus hampered, and money could not be found 
to open up the land by roads, which had been promised. 
They got over the difficulty in a very simple manner. A 
provision existed that this scrip could not be used in 
buying township lands. So they called the land they 
offered for sale "The Township of Sandon and Carnar- 
von." Cash had thus to be paid. Even when the 
Kiwi tea block was sold I believe it was described "in 
the Township of Sandon" for the same reason. 



"The Sandon Small Farm Block." 

A special settlement, under the same clauses as those 
taken advantage of by Mr. Larkworthy of the "Wel- 
lington Settlements Act, 1871," was initiated at the Hutt, 
prior in reality to the last-mentioned purchase. Some time 
in 1868 a number of Hutt settlers who wanted to go 
farther afield, took advantage of this Act and formed 
themselves into an Association and entered into an agree- 
ment to take 5,000 acres of the Rangitikei-Manawatu 
block to be surveyed and divided into sections of various 
sizes. The negotiations were apparently begun very soon 
after the purchase of the land. But it must have been 
made in anticipation of the Act of 1871, or it may have 
been under the conditions prevailing when the Pahau- 
tanui Small Farms were settled at an earlier date. The 
Hutt was a prosperous settlement by this time; the boys 
were growing or had grown up to manhood — where were 
they to settle? It was because of this desire to hive off 
on the part of the young people that the Government had 
been so anxious to purchase this Rangitikei-Manawatu 
block, and here was the chance. 

Mr. Thomas Mason, an old and respected settler at the 
Hutt, seems to have been Chairman of the Association, 
although he did not participate in the purchase. Mr. 
Mason was a quaker, and was one of the most enthusiastic 
gardeners New Zealand has had. His gardens at the 
Taita even to-day are viewed with great pleasure. While 
he lived there was scarcely a plant that would grow that 
he did not have in this garden. 

Mr. Ludlum, a neighbour of his at the Hutt, had also 
a celebrated garden, which is still extant, and there must 


have been great rivalry between them, all in the interests 
of horticulture. I remember that some of the older 
settlers told me that he came up to give his advice as to 
the land, and he (Mr. Mason) expressed the opinion that, 
although it would do very well for cattle, it was not suitable 
for sheep. The country has, however, developed much more 
into sheep country than for cattle. 

Mr. Stephen Fagan was treasurer. He was a member 
of the Provincial Council for the Hutt. When I came 
to BuUs he carried on business as boot-seller, having 
bought Mr. Cockburn out. He was for many years the 
Chairman of the Town Board, and in great requisition at 
any meeting which took place on public matters. Mr. H. 
Sanson was Secretary of the Association, and he also 
became a prominent public man in Road Boards, County 
CouncUs and Education Boards, and once stood, but not 
successfully, for the House of Representatives. 

With such men at the head of affairs, it is no wonder 
that the Association was a complete success, though they 
had to wait a long time before they actually got the land 
apportioned. The first payment made by the members 
seems to have been on February 8th, 1868. The members, 
however, could not get their land for several years, 
owing, as has been explained, to the difficulties that were 
made by the Maoris, so that the survey was delayed. 

The Provincial Grovemment seems to have allowed 
them ten per cent, per annum upon any money they paid 
in advance. At this time the Provincial Government were 
only too anxious to get in any revenue they could, for 
there was little coming into the Treasury. 

The Proclamation (see appendix) was issued by Sir 
George Bowen on the 9th day of February, 1872. Thus, 
there must have been a good deal of interest allowed. 
Mr. Williams, who was the first schoolmaster in Sandon, 
was then teacher at the Taita, where most of the members 
of the Association resided, and he tells me that he and 
his boys did the computing of the interest on the pay- 
ments made at various times by the purchasers. 


Meanwhile, Mr. T. W. Downes was making the survey 
(when he was allowed to), and on the plan (of which 
I have a copy through the kindness of Mr. J. W. 
Marchant) is written: "Plan of the Hutt Small Farm 
Block in the Township of Sandon, Manawatu District, 
1871. Scale 20 chains to 1 inch. (Signed) Thos. W. 
Downes, Wellington." Under this is written: "Laid out 
in accordance with my instructions. (Signed) Henry 
Jackson, Chief Surveyor, April 26th, 1871." 

The list of those originally applying is as follows: — 

1. D. McKenzie. 

2. Syd. Hirst and T. Hirst (later this was taken by 
Messrs. T. Hirst and J. Hirst). 

3. G. Hedges (later sold to Mr. Edwards). 

4. R. Burt (passed on to Mr. E. Pearce, and now 
belonging to the estate of the late Mr. James Kilgour) . 

5. W. Scarrow. 

6. R. Dallison (later sold to Mr. Edwards). 

7. G. Williams. 

8. D. Hughey (later sold to Mr. G. PhUlips). 

9. G. Phillips. 

10-11. G. Farmer, A. Farmer (now owned by Messrs. 
R. and J. Perrett). 

12. J. Roberts (now Mr. J, A. Bailey's). 

13. H. Sanson (later bought by Mr. T. Sanson). 

14. A. A 'Court (now in possession of Mr. W. J. 

15. J. Prisk. 

16. C. Grace. 

17. T. Harris. 

18. J. Harris. 

20. S. Fagan (now Mr. J. A. Bailey's). 

21. Mr. J. A. Bailey. 

22. G. Hirst (now part of Ohakea Special Settlement). 

23. T. Masters (originally taken by S. Hirst and 
O. Stent). 

43. J. Martin. 

44. J. Risk (later sold to Mr. Thompson). 


Each of the purchasers had also 20 acres in the bush, 
and one acre in the Township of Sandon. 

Mr. Williams says the land was allotted in the 
following manner: — "A share in the Association con- 
sisted of 40 acres. No member was allowed more than 
5 shares (200 acres). "We drew lots for order of choice 
of section. The last choice (Hobson's choice) had first 
choice in town, and others in their order. Each holder of 
a 40-acre lot was entitled to a town section. The 
remaining town sections were sold to the Public. Any 
profit after paying for the land survey divided among the 

Mr, W. J. Phillips tells me his father and family came 
up in May, 1872, and built a house, where many of the 
settlers when they first came up stayed. Many sold their 
town sections, and I remember Mr. Scarrow, who had 
the last choice in the country and the first in the town- 
ship, telling me that he sold his section, which was a 
corner one, where the present hotel stands, to Mr. Brown 
for £200. Mr. Scarrow was working for Mr. Fraser when 
he first came up (he was an old soldier, but had been a 
gardener at the Hutt), who sold it for him. It was lucky 
he took it in hand, for the owner would probably have 
taken £100 for it. 

Those who only see the pleasant homesteads along the 
road have little idea of the difficulties these new settlers 
— who now nearly all came up to settle — ^had to go 
through before they got their farms even fenced in. First, 
they had to get the house built, which was usually of very 
modest dimensions. There was the garden to fence, and 
a ring fence to be put up. Nearly all the fences consisted 
of ditch and bank planted with gorse. Many of these are 
at present in use. There were no roads and no bridges, 
and getting timber was very difficult. But scrub was 
plentiful, and a neat wattle fence was made with it on 
the top of the bank which lasted till the gorse grew up. 

Fortunately Mr. Bulls' mill was at work at Puka- 


pukatea and I think the price of timber was about 8/- a 
hundred feet. 

Those settlers who Lad capital of course employed 
labour to do all this; but those whose savings had gone 
into the land had to go and work in the neighbourhood to 
earn enough to keep the pot boiling and fence their farms. 
Most of those who came up brought cattle with them. 
But it was several years before their fencing was com- 
pleted, and even when I first stocked my farm with sheep 
in 1873 or 1874, the sheep had open country down to 
"Wiaitohi. To get stores at Bulls (the nearest and only 
township) the Rangitikei River had to be crossed, and 
many were the accidents in the river, but, fortunately, 
few were fatal. There were some cases of drowning, one 
of the victims being the wife of one of the Mr. Sansons. 
There was a punt which Mr. Bydder worked, but it 
usually stopped when the river rose; the current was so 
swift that it was dangerous to trust the punt in a " fresh. ' ' 
The days of the "runs," however, were soon a thing of 
the past, and the country gradually assumed the appear- 
ance of farms. 

The balance of the land, consisting of that to the 
north of Sandon Small Farm Block, and extending to 
Feilding to the east and a line running through Mount 
Taylor's and Mount Biggs trig stations, was sold on the 
17th of April, 1873. It was at this sale that I bought my 
land, part of which I still occupy. The homesteads of 
Messrs. Daniel, Trafford, Swainson, Lees and Hammond 
(none of which are now owned by the purchasers or their 
families, except Waitohi) were offered at this sale; but as 
there were certain improvements made by them on these 
homestead sections, which contained 640 acres, they were 
loaded with their value. The purchaser (if he was not one 
of the original holders) had to pay this loading; but in each 
case the lessees bought the freehold. Laurie Daniel, who was 
then alive, only bought his section. I bought all round 
him and out to the Mangaone stream. Mr. Dundas, on 
behalf of the Trafford family, bought a section adjoining 


the Mingiroa homestead, Mr. W. Swainson of Te Rakeho 
(now owned by Mr. Mcllroy) bought several, as did Mr. 
John Lees of Poatatua. One of these sections he called 
"Fassifem," after the Cameron of Locheil's place, his 
mother being related to that family, Mr. Harry Ham- 
mond bought extensively round his homestead some bush 
and some scrub country. This had now also been leased 
in various farms. 

The land on the east of Mangaone was mostly bought 
by Mr. Lethbridge of Turakina, but this property has 
been cut up and sold in smaller areas. Messrs Baker and 
Short also bought the land near Feilding. This sale was 
the last held, as the whole of the block had been thus 
disposed of up to the boundary of what was known as the 
Manchester block. This latter block of land, consisting of 
106,000 acres, was sold to an Association of which the 
Duke of Manchester was head, to enable emigrants from 
England to start their Colonial life in New Zealand. Col. 
Feilding (a brother of the Duke) had come out in 1871, 
and was allowed to select an area of land for the purpose 
of this Association, on his agreeing to settle a number of 
people on the land. This area is that which is now known 
as the Oroua County. It was originally called the Man- 
chester Highway Board ; but the late G. C. Wheeler, when 
Chairman, succeeded in getting it proclaimed a County, 
and consisted of the northern portion of the Bangitikei- 
Manawatu block and the northern portion of the Ahuata- 
ranga block, which block extended from what is known now 
as Linton to Apiti, and from the Taonui stream and Oroua 
river to the Ranges. Part of the agreement was that the 
Government had to spend a certain amount of money on 
roads, to complete the West Coast Railway through the 
timber land, so as to enable saw mills to be started and the 
timber railed away, and the emigrants — which the Com- 
pany had agreed to bring out to the number of 2,000 — 
work on the construction of it. 

It was not, however, until 1874 that any of the 
immigrants were settled in Feilding. A natural clearing 


on the flat near the river was an ideal place to choose 

for a site; but there were rough times before those who 

first settled on it. The road through the bush from 

Awahuri was sometimes in a dreadful state, and had to 

be facined with manuka scrub or the waggons would have 

been bogged. 

The mosquitoes at certain times of the year were 
almost unbearable, and it spoke well for the grit and 
determination of the immigrants that they were not 
daunted by their first experiences. 

Several of the names, Kimbolton, etc., owed their 
origin to the connection with the Feilding family at 
Home. Mr. A. F. Halcombe was appointed agent of the 
Company in New Zealand, and Mr. D. H. MacArthur his 
lieutenant. Mr. Halcombe (a nephew of Lady Fox) was 
well known as a public man, as he had been Provincial 
Secretary in the Wellington Provincial Government, and 
in that capacity had a good deal to do with the settlement 
of the land. 

The immigrants were provided with houses in the 
township, and work was provided for them either on the 
railway contracts, or in felling the bush for roads, and 
forming the water table for metalling. The scheme was 
a good one — ^to make the roads before settling the land, 
charging at first £2 and then £3 per acre for the land, 
Despite the fact that the price of the land was higher than 
what the surrounding land cost, the settlement of this 
huge block of land has been one of the most successful 
settlements in New Zealand. The scheme was an admir- 
able one, well carried out, many of the immigrants getting 
jijplendid chances to begin successful careers. 

This left still a considerable area of swamp and bush 
lands east of the Carnarvon estate to the Oroua river, 
consisting of all the land now comprised in the ridings 
of Kawakawa and Rongotea of the Manawatu County and 
portion of the Waitohi riding on the Oroua river. It was 
an exceedingly rich area of land, but almost impenetrable 
except for a Maori track. Certainly when cattle went into 


it, and the owner was fortunate enough to get them back, 

they came out most extraordinarily fat, so that even those 
who never explored the country were sure of the richness 
of the land. The whole of this country was applied for in 
1874 by "John Douglas, sheep farmer, Mount Royal, 
Otago, and Robert Campbell, sheep farmer, Otekaike, 
Oamaru," the area being 21,400 acres, and the sale being 
effected at a price of £13,375, on 7th September, 1874. A 
great deal of the land was swamp, part of it we hava 
seen was traversed in the early days by Mr. Wakefield, 
and the rest was dense bush. Mr. Douglas was really 
the purchaser, but Mr. R. Campbell, Senior, and his sons 
joined him in the purchase. It was known then as the 
Douglas Block. There were the following conditions 
attached to the sale — that a main drain be cut right 
through from the Kopane through what became known 
as the Horseshoe Swamp to the Oroua river, and that 
seventy families be settled on the land. It was first 
intended that these should be settled on the Kopane, but 
this was stoutly resisted by the Maoris, who held that 
this was their eeling ground, and, therefore, the Govern- 
ment had no right to it, and it never had been purchased. 
Meanwhile, the Crown grant was issued in October, 1877, 
for 14,627 acres, and the balance was subsequently con- 
veyed by Crown grant to the seventy heads of families 
settled by the Douglas Company. In the end Major 
Atkinson compromised with the Maoris and gave them, 
I think, £4,000 in lieu of their fishing rights, which they 
probably never had. They no doubt did catch eels in 
these swamps, and traversed them by canoe in flood time 
and up creeks at other times. One of the creeks, which 
runs into the Oroua about Jones' line, was called Whaka- 
nekeneke because the canoe (Whaka) went further and 
further on by a sort of jerks, meaning, evidently, that it 
was hard to push up amongst the raupo. Another, further 
down, was called Mangawhata, and from it the Govern- 
ment settlement near Oroua Bridge takes its name, but 
the creek was much further up than the settlement* The 


portion selected for the immigrants was surrounding the 
present township of Rongotea (it was first called Camp- 
belltown, but, fortunately, was changed to the name of 
one Turi's hapu). 7,000 acres were thus disposed of, 
giving each settler 100 acres. If I remember rightly, each 
one paid £3 per acre, but there was some stipulation that 
the roads through the settlement would be formed, and 
a long time was given to make the payments. In the early 
days the roads were simply awful, sometimes impassable, 
and were only equalled as a deterrent to comfort by the 
mosquitoes. The settlers, were, however, not of the kid 
glove stamp, but very few settlements went through the 
same difficulties. Fortunately, those who had not the 
means to purchase food were employed by the "Station" 
as it was called, on the main drain that the Company had 
agreed to put through. This looked really more like a 
canal than a drain when it was first cut. Mr. Dawson 
had charge of it as manager of the Station. The late 
Mr. Dalton worked under him, and had many draining 
contracts at various times. As time went on, and more 
bush was cut down, there was a little taken off the land, 
chiefly in the way of butter, which was then worth at the 
stores about 4d. a pound. Most of the settlers living on 
their land found it to be excellent soil, and when the 
drains were properly put through, capable of carrying 
dairy cows very well. 

After Mr. Dawson left, Mr. McLennan came from 
Oamaru to manage the property, and a very excellent 
manager he was; ably seconded by Mr. John Reid, who 
lived at the Kopane. The Company had purchased the 
Jacob Joseph property near Himitangi, and made that its 
headquarters. I think they had in all about 28,000 acres. 
The drained swamp proved to be of the very Ibest quality 
as a fattening ground for bullocks, and they simply rolled 
off the place. 

The estate passed into the hands of the Hon. Robert 
Campbell, and at his death it was cut up and sold. Mr. 
McLennan bought the homestead, and after his death this 


property was sold in its turn. Mr. McLennan was a very 
active-minded, public-spirited man, and was on the 
County Council for a long time. When I stood for 
Parliament in 1881 he gave me most generous support, 
which I shall never forget. It was largely owing to Mr. 
McLennan 's encouragement and help that I headed the 
poll, much to my own astonishment. 

This completed the settlement of the Rangitikei-Mana- 
watu block. No one who has not gone through the life 
can have any idea of what those who settled on the virgin 
land had to go through before they got their sections 
fenced in, and made suitable housing for their families. 
If the men were hard working, the women were heroines, 
and as the young people grew up they became known all 
over New Zealand as expert axemen, for all the bush had 
to be felled before the land was settled. The land has 
proved excellent, and is now changing hands daily at 
greatly enhanced prices. The modern New Zealander, 
however, who lives in comfort in towns and travels in 
express train, is bored with even the suggestion of a story 
of the ''old times," and is prepared to tax or "cut-up" 
anyone who has been fortunate enough to have retained 
some of his hard fought-for gains. 



It seems almost incredible; but, long before any of 
the settlement I have tried, though imperfectly, to 
recount, the head-waters were being explored by an 
intrepid and splendid old man, the Rev. Mr. Colenso. 
**He was a printer, and was sent out by the British 
and Foreign Bible Society to New Zealand in December, 
1834. He carried the first printing press that was 
established in that group of islands." (Extract from 
year-book of the Royal Society, England). 

In 1844 he finally left the Bay of Islands and came 
to Hawke's Bay to reside.* He settled near Famdon at 
a place called "Waitangi," where he says "two large fir 
trees (pines pinaster) and also a row of "ca'bbage trees" 
(Cordyline Australis) raised from seed and planted there 
by me, mark the spot. ' ' He had charge of a huge district 
under Bishop Selwyn and has contributed largely to our 
knowledge of Maori ways and habits. He says that "In 
the summer I saw pretty nearly all the Maoris of thie 
immediate neighbourhood, dwelling between Tangoio and 
Patangata, who were then numerous, and I also wished 
to see or to know something more of those dwelling in 
the inland Patea country, beyond the Ruahine mountain 
range, of whom I have formerly heard." He therefore 
determined to cross over the mountains into what then 
was an unknown country, by a track which was only 
partially known and where there had been many lives 
(Maoris) lost amongst the snow. He began the journey on 
the 8th February, 1845, and went up through the Ruatani- 
wha plains. His starting point up the Waipawa river (he 

*From his first journoy to the Ruahine Mountain Range. 


spells it Waipaoa) was from Tikokino, and he proceeded 
up the bed of the river. "About an hour before we 
arrived at the fork, we had on a sudden a fine clear view 
of the summit towering high above us, yet apparently 
not very distant. It seemed a round-topped hill, and is 
called by the old Maoris Te Atua-o-maharu. " On this 
occasion, however, he was only to gain a glimpse of the 
''promised land." As they ran short of food two of the 
Maoris were sent on to get assistance and food. They 
got as far as a pa on the Rangitikei called Te Awarua, 
but there were no natives there, and, after writing a 
message on a piece of bark, they were forced to return. 

Colenso and the rest of the party ascended to the 
summit and looked over to the West Coast. He says: 
**Here on the western summit. ... we found it 
open, flat, intersected with shallow snow-runs and low 
bushes and boulders. . . . We failed to discover any 
signs of natives approaching, or of any human habitation 
or cultivation, or fire or smoke, in all that enormous tract 
of open country of several score miles in extent that lay 
like a desolate wilderness panorama before us." 

Mr. Colenso was really more interested in the botany 
of the neighbourhood than the view, and it is interesting 
to note that he mentions the grasses he saw. 

* * I must not omit to notice the grasses of the mountain. 
Of these I found several species (more than I expected) 
belonging to various genera, these have all been sub- 
sequently published by Dr. Hooker. A few of them are 
identical with some of our esteemed English pasture 
grasses — as Festuca duriuscula (Hard fescue) and 
agrostis species, and also Hierochloe alpina; while others 
of them are also found in Tasmania and Australia. Some 
are new, and have not been detected anywhere else in 
New Zealand: others of them have been since found in 
the South Island — one, a new species of Poa (P. Colensoi) 
which I brought from the Summit, is common in the 
South Island, and is said to be among the best of the 
indigenous food grasses of New Zealand — and curiously 



enough, one species, Catatrosa antarctica, has only been 
hitherto met with in the far off Antarctic islet, Campbell 
Island, where it was also found by Dr. Hooker. None, 
however, grew thickly together forming pastures — ^like 
the well-known native grass here on our Hawke's Bay hills, 
Microloena stipoides, and the common grasses of our 
meadows — except here and there around a few snow 
holes and snow water courses of gentle declivity, where 
a very short pale grass grew thickly (said by Dr. Hooker 
to be a depauperated variety of Festuca duriuscula, found 
also on the mountains in the South Island) but only 
extending a few feet each way: it always bore a half- 
withered appearance, no doubt caused by the snow and 
the sun. Nearly all of the various species of grasses were 
found in single plants, or small tufts scattered among 
other herbage, except the one short turfy species by the 
snow holes before mentioned: and one other small grass, 
a species of Erharta (E. Colensoi) which grew in cushion- 
like patches, or large tufts, scattered here and there on 
the tops." He describes two birds seen here too, the blue 
mountain duck or Whio, and a small brown bird, the size 
of a lark, with a white head — ^he called it Pakotea, no 
doubt the native canary, which BuUer gives as Popokatea 
or Whitehead. 

This was the description of the ground at his feet ; but 
the view that met the eye of the first white man who pro- 
bably had looked at it, would be very different to what 
it would be like now. The surrounding country is what 
is now called Mokai Patea, and is in the occupation of 
Mr. D. G. Riddiford. Two men went from his place over 
the Range last year in two days ; but now they have found 
the track they think they can go through in one day. I 
had a look at this country from a high peak on the 
Mangawhaririki the other day, and the whole of it is 
practically in grass. Pukeokahu country on the north 
west; Taihape almost west; the Kawhatau and Manga- 
weka to the south-west. 


However, he (Mr. Colenso), was to become much more 
intimately acquainted with the country next year, when 
he attacked it by the "round-about-way" from Taupo 
side, which he recounts in his "Second journey to the 
Ruahine Mountain Range," which occurred early in the 
year 1847. Leaving Roto-Aira early in the morning they 
crossed the Onetapu desert by 3 o 'clock, he says, * ' a most 
desolate weird-looking spot about two miles wide where 
we crossed it — a fit place for Macbeth 's witches." They 
seem to have travelled on towards the east now and got 
to some birch bush near the head of the Moawhango 
river; and this was his first acquaintance with the 

In this bush they passed a most miserable time, as it 
rained and blew — "21st Sunday. Another wet and un- 
comfortable day. The wind, however, lessened a little 
and we could now manage to make up a fire — which we 
could not do yesterday." After travelling all Monday 
and throwing themselves down on the fern at night to 
rest, and probably crossing the river two or three times 
(in an earlier paper he says of the Moawhango, alluding 
to this trip), "I crossed the river more than once on 
long poles thrown across the narrow surface chasm (I 
could not see the water below in looking down through 
the rift) and sustaining himself upon a "raw potato," 
they, at last, next morning, came to "an outlying planta- 
tion village of only two huts, but where we found a feast 
awaiting us in baskets of hot smoking cooked potatoes, 
to which we all did justice." They then went on to the 
principal pa — Matuku — of the district. "In our way to 
Matuku we crossed the river Moawhango without seeing 
it, for it ran at a great depth below us in the earth: the 
width of the rift, or cleft, in the stony soil was only at 
top about 10-12 feet, and across this were laid the trunks 
of two small trees, over which the natives of the place ran 
with naked feet like birds. I did not like it, but there 
was no help for it : I almost thought I could have jumped 
over it, but there was no room to take a run for a spring. 


The natives told me that the fissure continued for a long 
way, and that it was pretty uniform in width (though 
very likely this was its narrowest) and that a small canoe 
could pass through the river." (This bridge I have 
located with the help of Mr. Birch, as being considerably 
below the present village of Moawhango, somewhere near 
Hiwera and where he remembers the Maori bridge). He 
then describes the pa thus: "The village of Matuku is 
picturesquely situated on the ridge and summit of a very 
high hill, rising abruptly in the midst of these immense 
primeval forests which surround it on every side. One 
great disadvantage was its want of good water, there 
being none within a mile, at least, and that at the foot 
of a long hill in the forest. . . . The view from this 
place was very extensive, solemn and grand, overlooking 
miles of forests with the eternal mountains uprearing 
their heads and peaks around. On the east and south 
was the great Ruahine Range with the many isolated 
spurs and ridges on its western flank, here rising 
abruptly and looking like a formidable barrier to our 
progress that way. On the west was Taranaki (Mount 
Egmont) and on the north-west Paratitaitonga, Ruapehu 
and Tongariro; and still further north was the Kai- 
manawa range: of all these Paratitaitonga and Ruapehu 
were now covered with snow." The natives showed him 
the peak he had advanced to two years before, but he 
did not recognise it. "Indeed the whole appearance of 
that range was strangely different from what it is on 
the eastern side: one huge table-topped spur, projecting 
towards the north and uprearing its dark and sharp out- 
line against the sky, interested me greatly (likely to be 
Te Potae — J.G.W.) it seemed so like a built-up rampart: 
the natives call it Te Papaki-a-kuutaa. " After being at 
Matuku for a day he says, "We left Matuku at noon. 
Our journey to Te Awarua was nearly a continual 
descent for a few miles, over a good beaten Maori track. 
On arriving at the immediate bank of the Rangitikei 
river, which lay between us and the mountain range, and 


which we had to cross, I found I had to descend the 
perpendicular cliff of nearly 300 feet, the worst feature 
being that one could not see one's way: for at the edge 
of the precipice one had to turn round, and holding on to 
the grass and fern drop over somewhere, and so descend 
sailor fashion. For some time I did not at all relish it; 
but, finding there was no help for it — and the natives 
of the place, men, women and children, all did so, and 
then got across the river in safety (as I could see from the 
heights) I consented to follow — disliking it more as I 
went on; for the sheer height not only made me giddy, 
but here and there in the descent friendly plants to lay 
hold on failed, or had been half pulled up in long use, 
and in their stead old flax leaves and strips of bark had 
been tied to shaky shrubs, and other make-shift devices 
of pegs and sticks had also been resorted to, and these, 
as I proved, were in many places old and rotten and not 
to be trusted to. However, by degrees, the natives kindly 
helping me, I got safely to the bottom in the bed of the 

The Rangitikei river here was tolerably wide and not 
very deep. I managed to cross it by help of the natives 
without great difficulty. In this place, as in many others 
in its course further down (as I have proved for many a 
weary mile) it runs between high cliffs, the village of 
Te Awarua being on its eastern side" (this spot is marked 
on the map — J.G.W.) "on the lowermost slope of the 
Ruahine range. This is one of the principal potato 
cultivations of this tribe, the soil being rich and well 
sheltered by the forest around. In visiting these locali- 
ties in after years, I was surprised to find such an exten- 
sive and formidable growth of English docks, four or 
five feet high and densely thick, so that in some places 
I could scarcely make my way through them. On enquiry 
I found, when some of these people had visited Whan- 
ganui to sell their pigs, they had purchased from a white 
man there some seed, which they were told was tobacco 
seed ! In their ignorance they took their treasure back 


with them, and carefully sowed it in some of their soil, 
which they also had prepared by digging, and lo! the 
crop proved to be the horrid dock — which, seeding 
largely, was carried down by the rivers and filled the 
country." (No wonder we have them so plentiful in the 
lower country — J.G.W.). 

"This place (Te Awarua), however, was of far more 
importance in the olden time as the decaying remains of 
its old fortifications still showed. When it was in its 
glory as a pa (fortified village) it was taken by the 
enemy, who carried it by storm, and here, on a rock in 
the river which was shown me a near relation of our 
well known present Hawke's Bay Chief, Renata te 
Kawepo was killed on that occasion, in endeavouring to 
escape from the foe, Renata himself being also closely 
related to this tribe." They then set out to cross the 
Ruahines. "The principal Chief of Patea, Te Kaipou, and 
a resident old man of this outlying village whose name 
was Pirere also going with us. . . . We travelled on 
till sunset, constantly ascending, when we halted by a 
small wood: our course at first lay through fern and 
brushwood, without the faintest track. One abrupt and 
isolated stony hill, or young mountain, which we had to 
cross, called Mokai Patea, was completely covered with 
a species of Coriaria, by the natives it is called Tutu- 
papa. ' ' Here we must leave him to find his way across the 
range to Hawke's Bay, which he did after some consider- 
able privation. From Mokai Patea, the track took an 
easterly direction to the peak he had already been on Te 
Atumahuru, curiously enough, almost at the summit, he 
describes surprising two English rats — I wonder if they 
too were sold by a "white man" in Whanganui like the 
dock seed as a choice morsel of diet. 

Then we have records of the Upper Rangitikei being 
explored before even the land was purchased at Pare- 
wanui. I can myself quite understand the Moawhanga 
(Mr. Colenso explains this means "hoarse sounding Moa" 
and supposes it is the noise made in the deep canyon) for 


some thirty years ago I made a trip with some friends 
when there was only a track through this country. The 
party consisted of Messrs. W. H. Beetham, W. C. 
Buchanan, W. Marshall and myself. After laboriously 
plunging along a very bad traxjk through the bush, we 
reached a Government vJhare where Utiku is now, and 
there we camped for the night, the horses being in a 
small paddock close by. As the whare was not over clean, 
Mr. Beetham said, **I see some scrub over there, I'll go 
and get some and make a broom to sweep the wkare out. ' ' 
He came back very soon and said, **Why, the river runs 
between us and the scrub, and it seems about sixty feet 
down to the water, so I decided to leave the scrub alone." 
Sure enough, on going to look, the Hautapu was seen 
running at the foot of a narrow gorge, which looked 
as if one could step across it. The Rangitikei, too, above 
Te Awarua was very narrow between the cliffs. The 
Maoris have a tradition that a Maori was once chased 
by a foe with a tomahawk, and to save his life jumped 
over the river on to the opposite cliff. Mr. Colenso 
explains that when the Maoris got horses they had to 
shift their camps, and live where the horses could get 
feed in the open country. As fighting ceased, the 
strategical positions chosen for pas were no longer needed, 
and they were abandoned. Here and there, up the river 
on the flats close to the water's edge, the natives planted 
peach trees, and the old maps show these peach groves 
in various places. Judging by Mr. Colenso 's account of 
the life of the Maoris on the Upper Rangitikei in these 
early days, they did not use the river above Te Awarua 
as a highway, 

I might perhaps relate a matter in connection with 
Mr. Colenso with which I was connected. In 1861 and 
onwards, I was at school in Tottenham, London, at 
Bruce Castle, a very fine old place standing in the midst 
of fine grounds dotted with grand old trees. One of my 
school-fellows was a boy we called "The Bishop," his 
name being Colenso, and a relation to Bishop Colenso of 


Natal, about whom, at that time, there was a great con- 
troversy as to his orthodoxy. In 1862, the year of the 
great Exhibition, some Maoris came over to London, and 
were much made of by the authorities, the means to 
communicate with whom was Mrs. Colenso, the mother 
of my schoolfellow (who was a day scholar) who was 
staying with her daughter in the village. 

These Maoris belonged to the Ngapuhi tribe, I think, 
and one was called George Pomare, **unto him a son was 
bom," when in London and Queen Victoria stood god- 
mother. This Pomare was a very fine big fellow, and 
used to play football with us frequently when he visited 
the school with the Colensos. Twenty years afterwards 
I was a guest of Mrs. Simcox of Otaki, and found during 
the course of conversation that she was the Miss Colenso 
above mentioned. This was the son and daughter of the 
Rev. Mr. Colenso, from whose writings I have quoted so 

There had been a good deal of interest in certain cir- 
cles as to the wonderful cabbage trees which Mr. Colenso 
mentions in the narative of the trip over the Ranges. 
He first mentions the size of the cabbage trees when on 
his journey down the Moawhango, and this partially 
locates his track, as Mr. Birch tells me there are no 
cabbage trees on the east side of Moawhango, so he most 
probably crossed the river twice, once about the present 
township, and went down the west side until he came 
to the bridge he mentions. In the first map in the 
Land Ofiice of the Awarua block (which I was able 
to examine through the kindness of Mr. J. W. Marchant) 
there are some cabbage trees marked at the site of the 
Te Awarua pa, one of which may be the phenomenon he 
mentions as being 20 feet in circumference, and being 
used as a room for tools and chattels by a Maori who had 
put a door on it. 

The Rangitikei river was looked upon as we now look 
upon the Main Trunk Line, as a means of connection 
between the interior and the coast. It was the scene of 


many a fight and struggle for supremacy. Mr, Travers, 
in his life of Te Rauparaha, gives various accounts of the 
natives journeying down the Rangitikei. Te Ahu 
Karama, a Ngatiraukawa chief of high rank, with 120 
armed men went down to assist Te Rauparaha in his con- 
quest of the West Coast. Again, Mr. Travers says, "In 
the meantime Whatanui and Te Heuheu had also 
determined to visit Te Rauparaha in order to inspect the 
country he had conquered. ... In pursuance of this 
determination, they, with a strong force of their own 
warriors, joined Te Apu Karama 's party, the whole 
travelling down Rangitikei river along the route 
followed by Te Ahu on his previous journey. During this 
journey they attacked and killed any of the original 
inhabitants whom they happened to fall in with." After 
consultation with Te Rauparaha, Whatanui determined 
to bring his people down, and *'for this purpose he and 
Te Heuheu returned to Taupo, some of the party passing 
across the Manawatu Block so as to strike the Rangitikei 
river inland, whilst the others travelled along the beach 
to the mouth of that river intending to join the inland 
party some distance up. The inland party rested at 
Rangatawa (Kakariki) where a relative of Te Heuheu, 
named Keremai, famed for her extreme beauty, died of 
wounds inflicted upon her during the journey by a stray 
band of Ngatiapa. A great tangi was held over her 
remains, and Te Heuheu caused her head to be preserved, 
he himself calcining her brains and strewing the ashes 
over the land, which he declared to be for ever tapu. His 
people were joined by a party from the beach road at the 
junction of the Waituna with the Rangitikei." 

The burial of Keremai took place on the Waituna 
creek not far from the river, and the spot is still pointed 
out by the Maoris. It may be mentioned that the potato, 
which became the staple food of the Maoris, was intro- 
duced by these conquering tribes to the Manawatu 

This route was the natural, in fact the only means 


of reaching the Waikato and Taupo districts except by 
the coast or by the Whanganui river, which does not 
seem to have been favoured in the same degree, partially, 
perhaps, because it was too far to the west and was more 
difficult of access from Taupo. 

Hare Rewiti used to relate many accounts of these 
fights, but, unfortunately, I took no notice of his descrip- 
tions. One, however, I recollect, related to a fight which 
occurred just below Westoe. The Ngatikohungungu 
tribe seems to have been the attacking party, having 
come down the river and reached what was called Te 
Ana, the flat the railway crosses. The Ngatiapa tribe on 
the top of the cliff to block their way, believing them- 
selves to be in an impregnable position (something like 
the line of Torres Vedras with the French below) from 
which they could only be dislodged by the enemy 
clambering up a steep cliff, and if they reached the top 
could easily be dealt with. After Maori fashion, they 
therefore kept up a running fire of jeers at their enemy 
on the flat. The boasts were returned with vigour, and 
the whole neighbourhood must have resounded with the 
shouts of the different fighting men. The top of the hill 
was called by the Maoris **Pokaka," somewhere near 
Greatford, where Mr. Comfoot's house stands. Despite 
the difficulties, the Ngatikohungungus succeeded in 
scaling the heights and driving the Ngatiapa back to 
their stronghold on an island in Otakipo Lake. The 
Maoris, where possible, utilized islands for safety, much 
as our forefathers used a moat, over which was an 
entrance bridge, which could be pulled up at will to bar 
the enemy's attack. Before the use of firearms a po on 
an island could only be attacked by swimming, as the 
canoes were all drawn up into the pa. 

Another story which I imperfectly remember, relates 
to a fight with the Ngatihauitis. This time it was the 
Ngatiapas which got the best of it. The Ngatihauitis and 
the Ngatiwhitis seem to have been sub-tribes of the 
Ngatiwharetoas. They inhabited different portions of 


the river. The Ngatihauitis were apparently descended 
from Haiiiti, but the Ngatiwhitis take their name from a 
woman marrying one of the main tribe called Whiti- 
Kaupeka. She was a Ngatikohungnngu, and the family of 
Utiku Potaka are descendants. 

According to my informant, the Ngatihauitis were led 
by one Pukeko, who is described as a very powerful man 
with feet much turned inwards. He seems to have been 
the only one who escaped, and fled up the river pursued by 
the Ngatiapa. He succeeded in getting as far as Otara, 
where they came up to him, and to secure a rest he 
clambered on to a big round boulder — which was named 
Papahauiti. One of the pursuers managed to grab hold of 
his leg, but, wrenching it away, he plunged again into the 
river, and eluded the enemy by scaling the cliff. 

These parties of natives who went up and down the 
river probably walked most of the way up,* for the canoes 
would not be available, but, in coming down, they would 
very quickly fall a white pine tree and make a rough canoe 
of it for transport. I have sometimes brought posts down 
the river, and the Maoris who brought them down did this 
to carry their provisions and tents. The resident natives, 
however, no doubt had canoes, and used them going both 
up and down. We have already recorded that Mr. Fraser 
bought wheat from the natives grown on Te Mahoe flat on 
the river opposite Rata in the early days, and it was 
brought down by canoes. It must have been very tedious, 
however, to pole up against the stream. 

•Maoris in walking on river beds wore grass sandals, and often 
had to stop at some place where there was a supply of grass 
suitable for the purpose to make sufficient to last a while. The 
Japanese do the same in climbing Fusyama, where they have to 
walk over rough scoria. 



I have an account of such a journey taken by the late 
J. Coutts Crawford, in 1862, which may be interesting as 
showing how this was accomplished. 

An account of a trip up the Rangitikei River in 1862, by 
J. C. Crawford. An extract from his book, "Travels 
in New Zealand." (By permission.) 

A short residence among the Maoris affords an oppor- 
tunity of estimating the merits and demerits of com- 
munism; and the admirers of that system might with 
advantage study the results practically arrived at in the 
old tribal organisation of New Zealand. No man could 
fairly call his property his own. I observed one Maori, 
more industrious than his neighbours, who owned a cow, 
and milked it, but the rest of the tribe helped themselves to 
the milk as a matter of course, and the owner thought 
himself lucky to be allowed to retain a small modicum. 
Not that all men are equal among the Maoris, as great 
weight attaches to the word and authority of the chief, but 
the difficulty of acquiring and retaining individual 
property under the old native customs is in practice so 
great as to paralyse individual exertion and improvement. 
Living, feeding, and sleeping are very much in common. 
This may seem somewhat picturesque, but it is very 
damping to individual ambition, and seriously injurious 
to the progress of the community in what we call civiliza- 
tion. Communism may be suitable as a certain stage in 
the life of a people, about the first advance from utter 
barbarism, but for a civilised community to adopt such a 
system would be absolute retrogression. 


On our arival at Wanganui, Topia informed the 
resident magistrate (Major Durie) that the natives 
intended going armed in a large body to Otaki early in 
March to salute the King's flag, but that the pdkeha need 
not be alarmed, as no harm was intended. Major Durie 
replied that he would refer the matter to the Governor. 

As I was unwilling to be defeated in my attempts to 
explore tlie Upper Whanganui, I resolved, after consulting 
with Mr. Deighton, and others, to turn the flank of the 
position and get in the rear of the obstructionists. Having 
therefore, made the necessary preparations, I mounted my 
horse and started for the Rangitikei river on January 8th ; 
the steamer "Wonga Wonga" coming up the river from 
Taranaki at the same time with the wing of the 65th 

I called upon the Rev. Mr. Taylor at Putiki. He told 
me that the dip of the coal at Tangarakau was slight, and 
that he considered this coal-field extended across the strait 
from Makau to Massacre Bay. In riding to the westward 
the farms appeared to be rather burnt up, and much 
remained to be done to bring the pasture-land into a 
proper state of cultivation. At Cameron's Inn at Turakina 
I met the Bishop of Wellington looking tired and sunburnt. 
He had lost his horse at the Rangitikei and was forced to 
continue his journey, mounted first upon a large cart horse 
and next upon a pony. The name of Cameron is legion 
in the district, and the Christian names of Sandy and 
Donald abound; while Gaelic is heard on all sides. At 
6 p.m. I reached the Koreromaiwaho, the residence of Mr. 
Jordan, and heard great complaints of the drunkenness of 
both Maori and Pdkeha at the races held there lately. On 
January 9th I proceeded with Mr. Deighton to obtain a 
canoe in which to ascend the Rangitikei river. We called 
at Hammond's and fell in with one Mahia, who took us 
to the Pa Onepuehu (Onepuhi), on the opposite side of 
the river. Here we engaged a canoe with a crew of four 
men to start on the thirteenth, and take us to Patea. In 
the evening we returned to Jordan's. Mr. Gibbes Jordan 


complained that however well the Maoris were treated 
and fed they would give no assistance unless paid 
exorbitantly, and were always ready to desert at a pinch 
or to stand out then for a rise of wages. The Rangitikei 
land is not equal to that at Whanganui. It is cold and wet, 
and will involve a large outlay in draining and working 
before it can be brought into good order, although when 
well treated it will eventually do well.* 

On January 12th Mr. Deighton and myself went to 
Major Marshall's, where Mr. Swainson then resided. Here 
the land is very good and there are some fine paddocks. 
The native name is Tututotara. It lies near the forest, and 
the scenery is very fine, I may say magnificent, looking up 
the course of the river. Mosquitoes and sandflies abounded. 
The garden was good; raspberries, strawberries, red cur- 
rants, and cherries were in season and plentiful. I 
observed four terraces from the top of the plateau to the 
bed of the Rangitikei, consisting of drift gravel, but 
showing fossils in places. On January 13th it rained, and 
the canoe did not make its appearance until late in the 
afternoon, too late to start. 

On January 14th we got away at 8.30 a.m. Our crew 
consisted of Mahia, as captain, Hohepa (Taioneone) 
Hohepa, Anatipa. Thus out of four men we had two 
"Josephs"; that, I think, is the meaning of Hohepa. The 
Rangitikei river is much inferior in size and depth to the 
Whanganui; consequently the canoes which navigate it 
are smaller. I may also state that the crews have not the 
same physique, and that the population of the district is 
sparser. In the lower part of its course the Rangitikei 
has a shingly bottom, like the rivers of the Canterbury 
Plains, winding and sprawling through a broad bed of 
gravel, which again is bounded by cliffs of gravel, sand 
and clay, with tertiary strata in places. This lower part of 
the river is mostly open and free from forest. 

*I saw immense improvement three years ago. 


From our point of embarkation, however, the character 
of the river changes. It is bounded by cliffs at a moderate 
distance from each other, and the bed of the river, although 
still of gravel, has not room to spread into the great sheets 
of shingle which we found lower down. We spent six 
days in passing through the for-est. A section of the cliff 
gave me the following result in a descending series: — 
1, drift-gravel; 2, soft sandstone with marine fossils fifty 
or sixty feet thick ; 3, blue clay with fossils. I was informed 
that at a place called Ekipi, the cliff being thrown down 
by the earthquakes of the year 1855, had blocked up the 
river for two days, during which time a lake formed above 
and the river became dry below. This is an accident 
extremely likely to happen in the beds of any of the rivers 
on this coast from the Rangitikei westward, and might 
produce serious catastrophes. We spent the night on a 
gravel bed at a place called Waikokowai, where I found 
some lignite containing inpressions of ferns. 

The Rangitikei seems to have none of the long deep 
reaches so common in the Whanganui, and I may add so 
beautiful in fine weather. Some of the scenery, however, 
which we passed through during the afternoon much 
resembled that of the latter river. Game was plentiful, and 
we shot eight pigeons and one duck, a welcome addition 
to our larder. Mosquitoes and sandflies were abundant 
and troublesome. On January 15th I observed the seam 
of lignite in the cliff about twelve feet below the surface 
gravel; it was several inches thick. We passed Rangatira 
hill on the right bank, where, I was informed, "Taniwha"* 
formerly lived, and as we did so, some blocks fell down from 
the cliff, which we naturally gave the "Taniwha" credit 
for upsetting. My impression is that the Rangatira marks 
a line of higher terrace, or rise, to the interior, but our 
point of observation from a canoe low down between cliflfe 
was not an advantageous one. 

*A fabulous gigantic eaurian. 


At 6 p.m. we encamped at Makohine on the left bank; 
the place is tolerably open, and a large bush fire was 
burning. Here the road from the west coast strikes 
the river. We met a party of natives from Taupo. They 
had walked so far, and were making a bark canoe to take 
them down the river. I found waldheimia here. I observed 
the Maoris preparing to catch eels with meat on the end of 
a piece of flax which was tied to a rod. The scenery is 
very like that of the Whanganui, except that the cliffs are 
not nearly so high. We observed a good deal of totara. 
Our encampment was highly picturesque — ^the natives 
round their fire, the tents, the cliffs, the foliage, and the 
river, lighted by the clear starlight and the camp fires. 
At this place a large bush fire was close to us, and "flie 
effect of the burning embers falling in streams of fire over 
the cliffs was magnificent. 

On January 16th we started at 8.30 a.m., after a good 
bathe and an eel breakfast. At 9 o'clock we stopped at 
Kaitarepa on the left bank to get a pannikin; we had left 
without one and found the inconvenience of having nothing 
but the lid of a tin to drink out of. We passed Te Maraki- 
raki and Te Rangiau on the right bank and reached Tapue 
on the left. Here an aboriginal brought a side of pork as 
a present to our crew. At 11 a.m. I saw the Otaire range 
bearing N.N.W. It is covered with forest, and has every 
appearance of being only a higher part of the tertiaries. 
We passed a deserted pa on the right bank, called Waimanu. 
Here we shot a cormorant. On the left bank opposite is 
Putatara perched on the top of a cliff. We stopped to dine 
at Otaire and found here pecten, waldheimia, spirifer, etc. 
We passed Taupakamau, Koau and Te Horeta on the left 
bank, and at 4 p.m. ascended a bad rapid, and soon after- 
wards passed a waterfall on the right bank. Few water- 
falls on this river are to be compared with those of the 

We nearly came to grief at a rapid below Te Whata. 
Anatipa and Hohepa (Taioneone) were towing the canoe 
up stream with the painter, when the former slipped and 



fell into the current. Both lads were swept down stream 
with great velocity; the canoe went rapidly in the same 
direction, and turning broadside to the stream, half filled 
with water and threatened to be dashed against the cliff on 
the right bank. Hohepa, exhausted and nearly sinking, was 
rescued by Mr. Deighton, who caught him by the hair when 
he was below the water. The situation was one of danger, 
which, however, was over in a few seconds. The canoe 
was then baled out, and being lightened by some of us 
landing and walking above the rapid, was towed up. We 
passed some more bad rapids and camped at Te Whata, a 
confined space with whity-blue clay cliffs containing 
nodules. We slept on fuchsia boughs after a delicious 
bathe, the weather during the day having been intensely 
hot. Mahia and Anatipa went to catch eels, in which they 
were successful. The eel is caught with strips of meat 
or guts tied as bait to the line with flax. 

On January 17th the weather was cooler, and we 
started at 8.30 a.m. The Maoris indulged in singing airs, 
which put me in mind of the drawling music of the Arabs 
and other Easterners. Having passed a succession of bad 
rapids, we stopped at Pohunga to dinner. Here the Taupo 
road crosses the river. The cliffs now are entirely of a 
bluish-white clay with marine fossils beneath, and drift 
gravel, as of an old river bed, at the top, from five to 
twenty feet thick. While dinner was being prepared, two 
pigeons alighted on a tree just above the fire, and were 
dropped by Mr. Deighton almost literally into the pot. At 
4.30 p.m. we passed the Kauwhatu (Kawatau) 
junction. This tributary is almost as large as the 
main river, and falls in on the left bank. Here 
we shot a bittern, and encamped a little higher 
up in a most picturesque spot. We passed some lai^ 
boulders of volcanic rock to-day, apparently not **in situ," 
and suggestive of the question, for future investigation, 
how they got there. Anatipa adorned his head with a 
bittern's wings, and they made a magnificent head-dress. 
The roar of water heard during the night was very great. 
It must be awkward camping on the Rangitikei when floods 


prevail, as it is difficult to find any ground upon which 
to rest except the shingle flats, and the cliffs are vertical. 

On January 18th we passed through cliffs entirely of 
sandstone, with bands of flat and of rounded stones. At 
Kai-inanga, Deighton shot a pair of "whio," or blue ducks. 
We passed Hautapu at 10.30, a large tributary falling into 
the right bank. Here the Taupo road touches the river. 
At 11 a.m. sighted Ruahine, bearing north-east by compass. 
At the Tokakaitangata rapids, which were very bad ones, 
we got another pair of **whio." If I remember right, 
these boulders are of igneous rock. Kowhai is plentiful, 
and festoons the banks like weeping willow ; totara is also 
a common tree. At Terare, an old deserted settlement, we 
foraged and got onions, potatoes, cabbages, and a 
pannikin. We soon afterwards reached Maungatutu, 
where the stream of that name comes in on the left bank 
between cliffs of nodular and sandstone about two 
hundred feet high and only twenty to thirty yards across. 
Here the crew insisted on encamping, although it was a 
disagreeably confined space between high cliffs on both 

On Sunday, January 19th, in accordance with Maori 
custom, we were obliged to halt. The heat was excessive, 
and bathing delicious. We fed excellently on "whio." 

On January 20th we passed through Te Wahaihai, or 
the cleft. Here the river has perpendicular cliffs on both 
sides and winds much. The height of the cliffs is about 
one hundred and fifty feet, the breadth of the river about 
thirty yards. The crew seemed well aware of the military 
strength of the locality, and said with triumph, ** These are 
the paraki Maori" — i.e., the Maori barracks or forts. I 
obserA'^ed a small flounder in the river. We reached 
Moawhanga, a tributary on the right bank, which, leaving 
the main stream, we after dinner began to ascend. This 
stream is often not more than ten or twelve feet wide, 
with perpendicular cliffs and with the trees actually 

•The * ' Whio, ' ' which was very easily killed, has become extinct 
on the river. 


meeting in many places overhead. The scene is unique, 
and the light and shade produced by a bright sun 
gleaming through the foliage is most remarkable. Our 
canoe voyage of six days was now over. We disembarked, 
' and were not sorry to emerge from this deep ditch and to 
ascend a cliff about two hundred and fifty feet high, 
whence we obtained an extensive view over forest and 
plain, a sight which we had not enjoyed for many days. 
We walked to Pawerawera, a small village. Here we 
found no one at home, so we took possession of the prin- 
cipal house and spread out our blankets to dry. I walked 
out and obtained a view of the open country of Patea; 
it seemed a good grass country. I found tobacco growing 
here, and that thistles had reached the district. Tongariro 
and Ruapehu were hidden. During the evening we had 
one of these disputes which are ever apt to annoy those 
who travel with Maori guides. Our crew proposed that 
they should there and then be paid and return home, 
leaving us to find our way as we best could manage. In 
this case, however, there was a written agreement to take 
us to Patea, and on this being pointed out they agreed to 
adhere to its terms. After this we had a cold night, but 
no mosquitoes, consequently peace and comfort. On the 
morning of January 21st, Ruapehu was in sight at day- 
break in the direction that I had indicated by compass, 
which differed materially from that pointed out by the 
Maoris. We got our packs ready, and started on foot at 
9.30 a.m., passing various signs of population, including 
a pigeon hung up in a tree. The road led through bush. 
At 10.30 a.m. we got the bearing of Ruapehu, N. 55° W., 
Ngauruhoe throwing up dense smoke. We met two old 
women and a child, and had a tremendous tangi. After 
walking through bush for two hours, occasionally looking 
down some three hundred perpendicular feet into the bed 
of the river Moawhanga, we reached the Papatahi pa, a 
settlement of no great size, situated in the middle of a 
potato garden. We found here only two men and several 
women and children. Deighton and I were some distance 


ahead of the crew, and informed the inhabitants of Papa- 
tahi that the latter were approaching. One of the ladies 
thereupon decorated her hair with green leaves and pre- 
pared for a tangi; so that when our men approached she 
was ready with her wailing cry. She performed her part 
in style, and the performance lasted a long time. The 
crew were fed and paid, and took their departure for the 
river, while one of the Patea natives went to look for 
horses for us. Meanwhile I walked to the top of an open 
hill to reconnoitre the country. 

The view in the direction of Napier shows flat-topped 
hills, evidently limestone tertiaries. In the pa were 
seventeen dogs, one calf, two pigs, four hens, and one 
little chicken. In the evening the Maori returned, having 
procured only one horse, a grey; so we had to pack the 
horse with our baggage, and walk to Taupo. 

On January 22nd the Maoris brought us two pigeons 
for breakfast. Parere, one of the Maoris, started with us, 
and with Aperahama accompanied us to Pakehiwi. We 
crossed the Moawhanga by a bridge (Tuhape), the banks 
being quite perpendicular and the river about one hundred 
and fifty feet below. The bridge was only six paces 
across; I think this was the first bridge I had seen of 
Maori construction. Here I got some tertiary fossils. We 
found the old horse rather addicted to tacking. He was 
born in the year Te Heu-Heu was smothered — about 1847. 
At 2.30 p.m. we reached Pakehiwi, a small village unen- 
closed. The ground we had passed over is excellent sheep 
country, well grassed, undulating, and, except in a few 
flats, which may be wet in winter, seems dry. At Pake- 
hiwi we were favoured with a small tangi; a most 
ridiculous affair, and the oftener I see it, more so. No 
business is transacted by the Maoris before feeding. 
Potatoes were first cooked, and then we had to make a 
hard bargain with one Tuakau, who, because, as it 
seemed, he was the only person who could go on with us, 
had us at his mercy. He insisted on ten shillings a day 
for himself and twenty-five for his horse, to go to Taupo, 


and to this we were obliged to consent. We had now 
reached a considerable elevation (through how great, for 
want of an aneroid, I could not tell), and the nights were 
cold. We had, however, a fire on the floor of the whare, 
and the company of seven or eight Maoris of various ages. 
A damsel tried to get the cow in, so that we might have 
some milk for tea, but the cow would not "bail up," as 
the young lady correctly expressed it in English, We 
passed a very communistic night. In addition to the 
members of the "genus homo" previously mentioned, we 
found plenty of fleas hopping about, and sundry dogs, 
which, after vain attempts to burst the door open, suc- 
ceeded in effecting an entrance by breaching the walls. 
The noise they afterwards made in munching the fleas in 
their skin did not conduce to slumber. Luckily the 
children were quiet. 

On the morning of January 23rd a bell was rung for 
"karakai," or prayer. We afterwards breakfasted, and 
on preparing to start found that the horse had strayed. 
We observed some very handsome maire and kowhai 
trees. In the branches of the former we had the day 
before observed many snares set for catching pigeons. 
The Maoris are a matter-of-fact people. Having drawn 
a sketch of the village, into the foreground of which Mr. 
Dei^ton introduced the figure of a horse with a boy 
feeding it, the Maoris wished to know which was the 
horse and which the boy. The horse having been caught, 
we made a start at 11.15 a.m., passing over a rolling 
country covered with grass, ferns, tutu, spear-grass, etc. 
At 1 p.m. we ascended Te Horo-o-moe-hau, a landslip. 
Prom this point Ruahine stands out weU; it appeared 
bare, with bush in patches. Otaire bore S. 25° W. At 
2.30 p.m. we reached the pretty village of Turangarere, the 
principal residence of the late chief Herekiekie, situated 
on the right bank of the Hautapu. Here there is a cele- 
brated "waata" or storehouse, very large and highly 
ornamented with carvings. There is also a fine waterfall 
about twenty feet high, and here I got marine tertiary 


fossils. The locality is tolerably open, grassy, pastoral 
and pretty. Herekiekie died lately. He was a chief highly 
respected both by the Maori and by the Pakeha. We 
bathed in the Hautapn, fed, and started at 4.15 p.m. 
At five o'clock we opened upon the large plains reaching 
to the foot of the volcanic group. Ruapehu bore N. 33° 
W., Ngauruhoe N. 20° W., the top of the latter being 
enveloped in smoke. The country continued grassy and 
apparently a fine sheep country. I observed a good deal 
of aniseed. Our road lay near the banks of the Hautapu, 
upon which we camped at 6.45 p.m., at a place called 
Poutamurengi, where we slept under an old breakwind 
in an artificial cave. We found breakwinds to be a 
regular institution in the interior. The country lies high 
and cold, and in places there is no bush; therefore it is 
found necessary to have permanent sleeping places for 
travellers. The night was bright and cold, but the view 
from the breakwind over the valley of the Hautapu was 
pleasing and pastoral, being a happy intermingling of 
open country and forest, of hill and dale, with the silver 
stream winding through it. 



Like a big mountain the ever-changing phases and 
colours of which dominate often the thoughts of the 
people who live within its sphere, so the river seems to 
influence and charm — sometimes by its very ferocity — 
those who live in the valley and can daily watch its 
moods. The Rangitikei river creates not only a love for 
its beauties but a respect for its powers both for evil and 
good. The good it has done has been to lay down beauti- 
ful rich flats; swamps in its old course, terraces above, 
and, as if impatient of man's determination to subdue its 
work to his own uses, it often seeks to undo his work. The 
Maori, it seemed to look upon with favour, for he never 
attempted to curb its turbulent temper, benefiting rather 
by its contribution to his food supply. We have seen that 
from time immemorial it had — save when it suddenly 
changed its course — remained within the narrow limits of 
its channel, its banks fringed with beautiful bush and 
forming a highway for the inhabitants. The Pakeha was 
soon, however, to turn the bush to his needs and the flats 
to his use, and this the river resented and began to tear 
away its banks. The spot where the actual purchase of 
the Rangitikei took place is now a shingle bed, as well as 
the grave of the first white man buried in the district. 
As soon as cattle were fed upon the land and watered at 
the river, the banks became worn down, and the bush 
bein§ destroyed, nothing was left to hold the banks 
together, and the sandy nature of the soil became a ready 
prey to each flood that attacked it. This erosion has been 
going on to the present day all up the river. Near the 
mouth where the stream flowed more quietly there has 
not been so much damage done, but further up, all along 


the Parewanui side, many acres have been washed away. 
Opposite Mr. Paulin's, the river took a sudden turn, and 
has made a shingle bed of what at the time of early 
settlement was a beautiful kowhai flat. Higher up again 
was a small flat on the right bank, now all washed away ; 
opposite this was the rich flat where Mr. Bull's Puka- 
pukatea mill cut out many million feet of timber, and 
where great giant totara trees with an admixture of white 
pine and matai grew with a beautiful fringe of ngaio and 
kowhai trees (until the 1897 flood these were still to be 
seen in all their beauty). Much of this has gone, as well 
as a big strip from the Maori gardens on the other side. 
When I first knew Ohinepuiawe, it was like a park in the 
Old Country; patches of bush in all their native beauty, 
with picturesque Maori kaiangas dotted about in its 
shelter. Three-fourths of this is gone, and a unsightly 
river-bed covers a wide expanse of what was once a beauty 

Everywhere you go up the river the same erosion 
of the lower lands is going on. What was known as 
the Lower Holm, where Captain Daniel took up his land, 
has had much of it washed away, and in some instances, 
where the river was originally running within banks from 
either of which a stone could be thrown on to the other 
the river bed is now about half a mile across. At Westoe 
too, much has gone, and at Onepuhi, hundreds of acres 
have been washed away. Mr. Marshall has lost a good 
deal. At Pikitara, land that was once used as a racecourse 
is now a shingle beach nearly a mile in width. 

Above this, on both sides, much of the kowhai covered 
flats have gone. The Rewa and Pakihikura flats are a 
little higher above the river, and here the banks are of 
harder material, and have resisted with better success the 
onslaughts of the river. 

Few remain now who have seen the pristine beauties 
on the banks of the lower reaches of the river; the last 
vestige of which went in the 1897 flood, when the beautiful 
ngaio and kowhai trees were destroyed for ever. No more 


the purple hued tui, with its mellow, liquid note will be 
heard, or will feed on the honey from the kowhai blos- 
soms, nor the screeching kaka, as he flies overhead, nor 
will the trustful lovely-plumaged native pigeon come 
down from the bush to fatten on the fruits of the cordyline 
and fall a prey to the potting gun. The parakeet will no 
longer be seen joyously flying through the bush. Even 
the amusing pukeko — whose numbers were legion — will 
no more strut the banks, in pursuit of grubs, with its white 
tail bobbing at every step — all gone. A few tuis come 
from their "ain countree" at the time the blue gums of 
the lower country are in blossom, but soon are away 
again. The pugnacious bell-bird has long ceased to declare 
his presence from the tree tops. All these joys will be 
no more known to the prosaic inhabitants of to-day, who 
have substituted the destructive English bird which — ^if 
allowed — will eat him, as regards fruit, out of orchard and 
garden. Just a few shining cuckoos appear and pipe their 
long-drawn plaintive note — ^though they are rarely seen — 
to remind us that there are other songsters of the country, 
or the grey warbler's minor note, to tell us she does 
not resent our intrusion; or the confiding fantail flirting 
its tail as we pass, as if to say, * * She knows we will do her 
no harm." Not only are the birds gone, except perhaps 
in the upper reaches of the river as we may yet see, but 
they have taken with them a large portion of the romance 
of life. Some day, perhaps with the care which owners 
of land exercise "if they are encouraged," these waste 
shingle beaches may be again reclaimed and "warped" 
as many of the marshy river flats have been in England. 
But the beauties of a fringe of native trees is gone never 
to grow again. The hand of man has been engaged in a 
great struggle to retain what land he already has, some- 
times not very successfully. Eventually the river will 
require to be confined, as the Wairau is in Marlborough 
by a belt of willows on each side. This will require to 
be undertaken by a Board or some Local Body, else the 


whole work of many settlers may be destroyed by the 
neglect of one neighbour. 

Long before the settlement of the land up the river 
Messrs. Hammond ran cattle on the flats on the river side, 
and I well remember seeing 100 bullocks collected off 
these flats and sold to Mr. Gear, going down the road 
under the whip of Mr. Crocker. They also had a run 
which Mr. Ewen McGregor now has, opposite Ohingaiti, 
where they had numerous cattle. The Otara bridge, a fine 
structure — which took the place of a very rickety and 
fearsome little footbridge hung on fencing wires, which 
swayed about in an alarming manner — now gives access 
to this country. Just above the bridge is a dangerous 
whirlpool made by the river gouging out a deep hole 
against the papa cliff. It is said that a bullock 
once got into it and was drowned — no living thing 
getting into it could come out alive — the body 
whirled about for days, until a flood washed 
it out and down stream. Often times the cattle 
got away into the illimitable bush, between the river and 
the Tararua and Euahine, but the Hammond ''boys" (led 
by "Bill" Hammond) never seemed to be at a loss to 
locate them, and seemed to find their way as easily in the 
bush as in the open. They soon knew the streams which 
fell into the Kiwitea from those which ran into the Rangi- 
tikei, so that by following the first stream they came to they 
were sure to come to a familiar place, although there might 
in their wanderings in the bush often be great discomfort 
and sometimes little to eat. The country was so overrun 
with dogs run wild — or Maori dogs, who shall say — that 
to keep sheep up the river was then practically impossible. 
The getting of supplies to their "run" was no easy matter, 
and when the faithful horse was available, it was com- 
mandeered to drag a canoe up the river to save the 
labour of poling. Major Marshall and his sons had a 
"run," also up in the wilds at the back of Hammond's 
running down the the banks of the Kiwitea, which, too, 
was used for cattle. Dr. Curl, too, had a run which still 


goes by his name, "Curl's clearing," on the other bank 
of the Kiwitea, but not much stock ran there. A thorn 
tree planted by him on the Whare road is still (the last 
time I passed) growing to show where the whare stood. 
The adventure in the rirer will never be forgotten 
by those whose highway it was, although they 
are things of the past. Many lives were lost 
and narrow escapes from drowning occurred in those 
days when the river took its toll. Once, and once only, 
I regret to say, did I make a trip a short way up under 
the guidance of * * Billy ' ' Green, so I have some recollection 
of what it was like before civilization had destroyed its 
beauties. We went up past York Farm and along the 
Sudbury road past the Cockburn's and down on to the 
river on a small section, which an old soldier had taken 
up just opposite Onepuhi; crossing the river the track 
led across the flat below Pikitara and then across the river 
to the Hou Hou, where we interviewed Utiku Potaka. 
Crossing the river again we passed along a flat on which 
was Ritamona 's pa, and then across the river to the Mahoe 
flat and again across, passing up under Rewa and on to 
Pakihikura flat, and still once more crossing the river and 
up a steep face at Vinegar Hill, we came to a whare Mr. 
Green had built on part of the Rangatira Block, now 
owned by Messrs. Simpson Bros. All the way up, these 
flats were mostly covered with light open bush running 
generally right down to the shingle with cattle lazily lying 
amongst its shelter, staring at us as intruders. It was a 
delightful ride on a long summer's day. The river had 
not then done much havoc and was still in its original 
course, quite narrow, though it was soon to widen out and 
commence its depredations. 



As all the available land was now taken up the Govern- 
ment soon began other purchases. Paraekaretu block 
being purchased, I think, from natives at Kaungaroa, 
principally Whanganui and Mangawhero natives and some 
from Taupo. Messrs. Booth, T. W. Lewis and Sheriden 
completed the purchase at 10/- an acre. Aperahama Tipae 
being the biggest man amongst the sellers, had the dis- 
tribution of some of the money when it was paid over. 
He had an ingenious way of saying ' ' So much for this one, 
so much for myself, so much for that one, so much for 
myself" on each partition; he therefore got his share 
which, probably, amounted to a considerable portion of 
the purchase-money. His birth and mana giving him 
almost supreme power amongst the natives in the neigh- 
bourhood of where he lived. To my uneducated eye he 
was a very ordinary middle-sized, unprepossessing Maori, 
who, when I knew him, had lost any elasticity he might 
have had, and had thickened round the waist very con- 
siderably. Still he must have had a great standing 
amongst the tribes to which he belonged, for even at the 
first sale he was a personage, and up to the time of his 
death held great sway. There were 44,000 acres in the 
block, so that the purchase-money came to the goodly sum 
of £22,000. No doubt Aperahama got the most. 

The Paraekaretu block on the south joined the Rangi- 
tikei-Turakina block, and lay between the Turakina and 
the Porewa rivers bounded on the north by the 
Otairi blocks, the boundary coming into the main road 
some way past the Messrs. Simpson homestead. The 
actual boundary ran in a straight line from the Turakina 
river through the Tiriraukawa and Kaikarangi trig sta- 


tions to the present main road at the south-west end of 
Mr. Dalziel's property. About 5,000 acres of it were set 
aside and leased as education leases. Part of this land 
was obtained by Mr. Galpin and the rest mostly to Mr. 
James Johnston. 4,500 acres (fronting what is now 
known as the Mangahoe line) was handed over as a 
Wellington College Reserve. The south-east comer was, 
however, cut off for the Rata Maoris, of which Utiku 
Potaka (Ngatihauiti) is chief, and this reserve called 
Taraketi contained about 2,000 acres. This block of land 
(surveyed by Messrs. LI. Smith, M. Carkeek, Jas. 
McKenzie, W. Snoden, C.E. and O. Smith), was offered 
for sale by the then Commissioner of Crown Lands, Mr. 
J. G. Holdsworth, for the Wellington Provincial Council. 
The Wellington Provincial Gazette of Sept., 1874, con- 
tains particulars of an "Extensive and important sale of 
100,000 acres of Crown lands, to be offered for sale by 
public auction at the Provincial Chambers, Wellington." 
Included in this are 44,000 acres in the Paraekaretu block. 
Amongst the purchasers were Messrs. Joe Dransfield, 
James and R. C. Bruce, F. Larkworthy, W. B. Buller, 
A. McGregor, Mace and Tolhurst, Ben. Smith, C. Parker, 
and D. McKay. Many of these, however, must have 
bought for others, as they never resided on the land. I 
think, of the above, only Mr. R. C. Bruce now owns his 
original purchase, containing the beautiful lake Ngaruni. 
Some considerable time elapsed before the whole of this 
block was taken up, and I remember that Dr. Buller held 
a considerable area, which the settlers around thought he 
should either settle on or sell. Eventually, he sold the 
whole of his interest to Mr. Silver, a London merchant, 
after whom it was called Silverhope. Mr. Aldworth, who 
now owns the homestead, and who had farmed in Berk- 
shire, came out to manage it in 1882. Recently it was 
cut up, and sold, and realized good prices. The original 
price was 15/- per acre, I think, but there was much 
to do before it was in grass. Shocking roads to pass over 
to get access; special rates to pay to improve them, but 


those days are gone, and this portion of Rangitikei has 
not only good roads intersecting the land, but has the 
Auckland-Wellington Main Trunk Line running through 
it. Hunterville (called after Mr. George Hunter, then 
Mayor of and Member for Wellington, though he had no 
connection with the block) was the township laid off 
by Government ; now a prosperous town, with the country 
all settled far beyond ; it was for a long time on the out- 
skirts of settlement. 

Mr. Robert K. Simpson bought his land near the 
township in 1878, and was the first to do any bush-felling 
in the neighbouorhood. The absence of roads was a 
serious drawback to the actual settlement of the land. 
It was not until several years after, that the settlement of 
the township took place, and Messrs. Stewart and Baskin 
opened a small store to supply the bush-fellers. 

A large portion of this block was settled by the 
stalwart McGregor family. - Their father had been in the 
Gordon Highlanders, and one of the family still retains 
a most interesting relic of the past in the form of a sword 
— an Eastern blade — which he found in the Pyramids, 
when fighting the French in Egypt. He brought his 
family out to New Zealand and settled near Whanganui, 
and when the Paraekaretu block was settled the young 
men got a considerable area of it. Only one, however, 
remains on his original farm. 

The next block purchased was the Rangatira block. 
It consisted of 19,500 acres, and comprised the land on the 
east of Paraekaretu block to the Rangitikei river; the 
southern boundary was the Taraketi block; the land 
narrowed very much at the north end at Makohine. The 
natives interested were the Ngatiapa and Ngatihauiti 
tribes. They were both anxious to sell. Mr. Donald 
Eraser negotiated the sale for the Hon. J. Johnston, 
Messrs. Bull, McKelvie and himself from the Ngatiapa 
tribe at 11/- per acre : the purchasers to pay all expenses. 
These ran up very considerably, and in the end it cost the 
purchasers about 23/-. Mr. Richard Hammond, of York 


Farm, bought the interest of the Ngatihauiti, of which 
Utiku Potaka was the chief. The Court sat in Marton 
with Major Heaphy as judge, and the Ngatiapas were 
represented by Sir Walter BuUer (then Dr. BuUer) and 
Captain Blake appeared for the Ngatihauitis. The pro- 
ceedings were long drawn out, Utiku Potaka, for instance, 
being in the witness box for 7 days giving evidence. 

It was arranged that the block should be divided in 
two by a straight line drawn north and south, leaving 
8,500 acres on the river side, as this was thought most 
valuable, and 11,000 acres on the west side, Mr. Richard 
Hammond (with whom were associated Messrs. Beckett 
Hammond and Dick) had the first choice, and, contrary 
to expectation he chose the larger portion. This was 
surveyed by Mr. T. Drummond in 1879, and the plan of 
sale is dated October 15th of that year. A Hunterville 
extension was laid off adjoining that township on the 
east side of the Porewa and sold well, the rest of it was 
sold in various sections at good prices. The straight road 
(Rangatira road) which runs past Mr. John Hammond's, 
was the dividing line between the two purchases; this 
straight line extended right to the end of the property. 

Portion of this land was milled by the Bailey Bros., 
and is now in the occupation of Mr. and Mrs. John 
Hammond. On the river side a beautiful flat, where — as 
has already been stated — the Maoris grew wheat in the 
early days: called the Mahoe, was seriously injured by 
the 1897 flood — this piece of land ran out like a tongue 
with the steep cliff on the other side. The river rushed 
across the flat tearing up the land and leaving shingle 
in its place. No doubt at some future time this will be 
remedied, but it is sad to see such havoc. It is just 
opposite this Mahoe flat that the big cliff is supposed to 
have fallen and blocked the river in the early days of 
settlement. Mr. W. Ferguson told me that he crossed the 
river going to Bulls when there was scarcely any water 
in the river at all. "When he went back it was too high 
to be fordable. The Maoris had a name for this cliff, 


"Putorino"; there is a lake at the top: in which they 
said a Taniwha lived, and at certain times he used to 
make a sound like the sound made by the Putorino, which 
my informant said, was a war trumpet. Mr. Hamilton, 
of the Dominion Museum, tells me that Putorino is not a 
war trumpet. He had one in the Museum about 5 feet 
long, and he got a professional player in who, after a 
little practice, was able to sound all the ordinary bugle 
calls on it. He says, however, that these war trumpets 
are called Pukaea and the putorino is about "15 or 16 
inches long, and is more like a flageolet, the mouth being 
placed at the larger end and the sound modulated with 
the fingers." This, I may say, was the instrument which 
was used by Hinemoa's lover to lure her to his island. 
However, the cliff is called Putorino, and, according to 
the statements of the natives in the Land Court, the 
Taniwha and his music was the origin of the name. 

The other settlers on the block are Mr. Rhodes, at 
the corner of the road leaving Rata, Mr. Pryce, who has 
land on both sides of the road, Mr. Bull, Mr. Cook, and 
the Messrs. Simpson Bros., with many settlers in the 
neighbourhood of Hunterville. 

The Otairi block, which lay between the Turakina and 
the Rangitikei river was next sold by the natives, and 
settled in various ways. The western portion was pur- 
chased by the solicitor (Mr. Duncan), who appeared for 
the native owners, these living at Whanganui and 
Kaingaroa; there were several thousand acres of this. 
Eventually Mr. John Duncan purchased this property. 
At his death his two sons succeeded to it : half of it was 
sold to Messrs. Morton Bros, and the other half retained 
by Mr. T. Duncan. The central portion, which is the 
largest, was purchased by Government. Murray's track 
ran through this block. It was cut up into large areas 
and settled mostly as grazing runs. The portion near 
Pukiore clearing was disposed of in August, 1889. J. A. 
Beach, F. Floyd, J. H. Duncan, D. McKay, C. H. Nolan, 
M. Christensen, and J. McChesny were some of the names 



of the settlers. Another portion to the east was settled, 
some of it as small grazing runs in 1887. Dr. Sherman, 
M. Hale, W. Aitken, S. Gibbons, B. McAlley, W.A. Floyd 
appear to have taken it up. Two large grazing runs 
were first taken up by Friston and Burden, now owned 
by Dr. Anson and by W. Duncan. 

The eastern portion of this same block was purchased 
by Europeans direct from the native owners. Mr. 
Churton, of Whanganui, buying the portion near 
Ohingaiti, which was purchased by Mr. A. R. Russell, and 
the block held now by Mr. Dalziel was purchased direct 
from the Ngatiapa owners by that gentleman. Mr. Fraser 
bought 1100 acres for Mr. Blew, which, after passing 
through other hands, is now owned by Messrs. Simpson 
Bros. Another 500 acres was allocated to Ratana, but 
was soon sold by him. 

Just north of the Otairi block was the Pohonuiatane 
block, running up the Turakina river to Ruanui. This 
was purchased by the Crown and taken up by several 
Special Settlement Associations, The Hunterville S.S. 1, 
2, and 3, the Sommerville S.S., and the Palmerston 
Knights of Labour Association. Still further up Ithe 
river is the Ruanui block, leased direct from the natives 
by Mr. J. Studholme, the lease of which has several years 
to run yet. The lease of this property was negotiated by 
Mr. Neville Walker for Russell and Morrin, of Auckland, 
but came into the hands of Mr. John Studholme, whose 
son inherited it later. Mr. Studholme held leases also of 
large areas around Karioi and Waioura as sheep runs, 
which were eventually taken over by the Crown, and 
leased to others. 

The portion lying between Tekapua (also bought and 
settled by the Crown, and lying contiguous to the 
Pohonuiatane block) and the Rangitikei river is the far- 
famed Te Awarua block. As this was settled much later 
we must turn back to the land lying between the 
Rangitikei and the Oroua river, which had been settled 
meanwhile. The first block of land purchased by the 


Crown north of the Rangitikei Manawatu purchase was 
the triangular Waitapu block. This had rather a curious 
history. Kawana Hunia, who had been instrumental in 
selling the Rangitikei-Manawatu block to the Crown, 
ingeniously discovered that the surveyors had taken the 
wrong boundary, or at any rate that there was an area 
north of the purchased block which had not been paid for. 
His contention was that the boundary of the block was a 
line running from the Waitapu Creek to Parimanuka 
(Manuka Cliff), a well-marked spot, instead of going in a 
line to Umatoi, as the surveyors had taken it. The 
Government had, of course, given a lump sum, as we have 
seen, for the original purchase, but in the end had to buy 
this additional piece for a further sum, which was paid 
over to the Ngatiapas and the Ngatiwhiti. This was 
settled at different times. The first portion was the 
Waituna, where Messrs. J. J. and S. Williamson and 
Murray seem to have been amongst the first purchasers. 
This has proved excellent land, although the flat country 
is a little light ; it grows very fine sheep, and seems to be 
specially suited for the Romney breed. 

I have a note from Mr. Marchant, which says another 
block was called the Kiwitea block,* and that the eastern 
portion was selected by the Palmerston North Knights of 
Labour Association (T. W. Downes, surveyor). The 
western portion was thrown open for sale in June, 1888, 
on the optional systems. Amongst other names on the 
sale plan were Messrs. G. V. Shannon, Ward, Levett, 
Welford, and others. The Hon. John Bryce and the 
Messrs. McBeth also bought areas, which have been cut 
up and sold at high prices. The land is light, but grows 
splendid root crops, and has something of the appearance 
of that in the Fern Flat near Marton. This block is 
plentifully supplied with townships, there being one, 
Beaeonsfield, in the Kiwitea, and another, Kiwitea, on the 

•This really was the northern portion of the Rangitikei- 
Manawatu block. 


Oroua, neither of which have proved profitable purchases 
for those who bought sections. 

It was part of this block, the Kiwitea, which Mr. W. 
Mills bought, who managed for Mr. Daniels, and after- 
wards went to Pukenui to manage for Mr. Bull. I recollect 
quite well when he went to the sale at Wellington. It 
was thought the land was "at the back of beyond." It 
proved, however, that very soon after he went to live 
there the roads were made, and the settlement went on 
apace. Now Cheltenham has a dairy factory second to 
none, and the farms around have risen in value very 
rapidly. The road between Feilding and Kimbolton has 
on each side a succession of nice houses and prosperous 

The block above the last-mentioned — ^the Kiwitea — 
was a very large one. The disputes in connection with 
it seem to have gone on for years. The Otamakapua — ^the 
block in question — contained 106,000 acres, nearly all bush 
except one or two small clearings. This block and another, 
the Mangoira (sold to the Crown by Utiku Potaka), and 
the south-eastern portion of the Awarua block (to the 
south of the Kawatau river) comprise the Kiwitea County. 

In several of the blocks in the neighbourhood the East 
Coast natives asserted a claim, but so far as we have gone 
were unsuccessful in proving their claim to the Court. 
In the Otairi block, for instance, Renata Kawepo claimed a 
considerable area. He was represented by Dr. BuUer at 
the Court. Irene Karauria (Mrs. Donnelly) was repre- 
sented by Mr. Stevens. The Ngatiapas had Mr. McLean 
as lawyer, with Mr. D. Fraser to watch their interests. 

Renata was called as a witness, and soon convinced the 
Court he knew nothing about the land and he was never 
on it, although he put forward a large claim. No doubt 
had he not put in this claim he might have fared worse 
when he came to have his claim in other blocks to the 
north adjudicated upon. It was this case which was my 
first experience of a Native Land Court. I found it 
extremely interesting, but hadn't time to follow the case. 


One day in the Court I was an interested listener when 
Mr. Stevens was cross-examining Renata. Renata was 
asked a question which enraged him very much, and he 
would not answer. It was, "Were you not a slave on the 
East Coast?" He was obliged to admit he was, but it 
seemed cruel to force him to answer it, though I suppose 
all is fair in love and war. Renata was a great help to the 
Pakeha, and had the misfortune when he was fighting on 
the East Coast to be taken prisoner. The Maoris in that 
case — the Court for a time sat in Bulls — were present in 
great numbers, and there was much ado amongst them 
during the sitting. Maoris everywhere in the township, 
but perfectly peacable, and never a word of interference 
with any of the residents. There were hakas performed 
in the streets, and dinners, and feasts given, but as far as 
I remember no excess of any kind. 

To come back to the Otamakapua block. Renata 
Kawepo and his niece, Irene Karauria, again made a 
claim — Hunia for the Ngatiapas Herewhini, Hunia's 
brother-in-law, Utiku Potaka for the Ngatihauiti, Ritimona 
(Richmond) and Ema, his wife. In this case the Court 
bought the land at a price per acre, and then had it 
surveyed. The Court had then to decide to whom th€ 
money was to be paid. Eventually this was settled, 
although I have no record of the different amounts, except 
that Mrs. Donnelly got 1000 acres and Ema got 200 acres 
and £100. A glance at the map will show the position ol 
the block, which has proved a very valuable one. 
Kimbolton is on the southernmost boundary, and the 
Kawatau is the northern. On the west the Rangitikei, 
and to the east the Oroua until it takes a turn to the east, 
and then the eastern boundary runs due north. It was 
a long time before it was entirely settled. There were 
several special settlements taken up in the block. One, 
the Sandon Special Settlement at Vinegar Hill, with its 
township of Livingstone; this was allotted about 1888. 
The land to the south of this was surveyed by Mr. A. 
Dundas, and disposed of in November, 1890. The land 


opposite Te Mahoe on the Rangitikei river, the Te Rewa 
block, was offered in 1888. 

The Pemberton Special Settlement Association, which 
has Rangiwahia as the township, and the surrounding 
country, which was taken up by Messrs. McGregor, 
Bennett, W. S. Marshall, J. J. Bryce, R. E. Beckett, etc., 
was offered about 1889. Another Special Settlement 
Association went from Marton and took up land some 
distance up the Kawatau. The land lying between the 
Mangawharariki and the Kawatau was disposed of in 1894. 
Adjoining the river here is the Kawatau Improved Farm 
Settlement, opened up in 1894, as well as the Haweaga 
Village Settlement. 

At the junction of the Kawatau and the Rangitikei 
rivers was a block 'of land which contained three 
clearings (where the above Special Settlements were 
located), and as Mr. Charles Clayton had it in occupation 
he was allowed to lease and occupy it before the country 
was surveyed and opened for settlement. There was a 
Maori track up the Kawatau, and over the ranges which 
Tapuae Utiku (Utiku Potaka's father) told Mr. Marshall 
was used very frequently, and that the Ngatihauitis passed 
as much of their time in Hawke's Bay as in Rangitikei. 
The whole of this vast area of land has been very success- 
fully settled, although very often precipitous, in some 
places with scarcely enough level land to build a home- 
stead, it has turned out a splendid sheep country. It is 
mostly on the papa formation, darker coloured on the 
south and running into a blue papa at the north. This 
blue papa formation extends from the white cliffs north 
of "Waitara in a straight line across the country to the 
Mangawharariki. It is noted as being excellent sheep 
country, but nearly all precipitous razor-backed hills. 
At first when the bush is felled it slips in a most alarming 
fashion, but fortunately the bare faces soon weather and 
crumble down, and the grass spreads over them with a 
wonderful rapidity. There is a considerable quantity of 
lime in the papa, so that whenever it is exposed to the 


weather it breaks up rapidly, and takes grass very well. 
The only way to keep the fences up at all is to follow the 
ridges, if they are put up on the side of the hill the slips — 
in a rainy season — carry chains away, often far down into 
the valley. The faces of the cliff on the river show 
some curious nodules almost spherical; apparently 
dropped in from somewhere when the papa was being 
deposited under the sea. Riding along on one of the 
topmost ridges I was astonished to find two of these 
great boulders on the very top. They are very hard, 
evidentlj^ hardened by the weather. They must have been 
quite eight feet in diameter, and exactly like what are 
known as the Moeraki boulders. These latter boulders 
are conspicuous on the sea shore at Moeraki Bay in the 
south. It is useless to speculate how they came here, but 
no doubt have been rolled down from the mountains by 
some glacier-fed river in the ice age and deposited 
amongst the soft silt also brought down by streams.* The 
whole seems as if by some sudden upheaval the country 
has been cast up above sea level when in a soft pulpy state, 
the rains falling on it, the streams must have cut deep 
gorges in it and caused the side to fall in until it either 
got covered with some vegetation or found the angle of 
repose. To view this country away to all the points of 
the compass and note the jumbled-up appearance it has — 
it is much more marked now the land is in grass — gives 
an eerie feeling, and impresses one with the wonders of 
Nature. To road and settle such a country certainly 
deserved some reward, and fortunately the land has 
turned out good, and the sheep have done well on it. 
There is very considerable expense in keeping the fences 
up, and, unfortunately, owing to the Government sowing 

*Dr. Marshall, who has published an interesting handbook on 
New Zealand Geology, tells me these boulders are similar to the 
surrounding papa, but usually contain more lime. Mr. Aston kindly 
analysed a small piece, and gives the following as the result: — 
Lime CaO 15.7%, equivalent to Carbonate of Lime CaCOs 28.0%, 
Phosphoric acid PaOs 2.7%, equivalent to tricalcic phosphate 
CasPjOg 5.9%. 


inferior seed on the tracks as the roads were first put 
through when the Main Trunk line was being surveyed 
and roaded, the whole country bfeing badly infested with 
Calif ornian Thistle, It doesn't do a great deal of harm 
as the grass grows amongst it, but to keep it cut down 
such as the Noxious Weeds Act demands costs about 1/6 
an acre. In this particular block there were very few 
Maoris living, but large areas were partitioned off 
especially for the Utiku Potaka family, much of which is 
still in its native state. The rest of the block is, however, 
all down and in grass, and seeing that it is not more than 
twenty-one years since it was first tackled, it reflects 
great credit on the settlers and the Council that the roads 
should be so good, though expensive to keep up owing to 
slips — and the bush all felled. 

I have not gone into the part the Native Land Court 
played in the latter cases because they had largely lost 
their interest; much of the land was unused by any of 
the natives, and there had sprung up a younger generation 
of Maoris, who had forgotten all their race's traditions 
and had begun to look upon the land as merely a means 
of securing a large sum of money, too often to dissipate 
not so much in riotous living as useless display. Too often 
evidence was concocted and bogus claims made, so that 
the native race when it appeared in Court did not do so 
to advantage except in the case when some of the older 
Maoris gave evidence of what happened in the old times. 
We mustn 't blame the Maori for this unsatisfactory state of 
affairs, because the pakeha in too many cases was only too 
willing to show him the way. It is, therefore, not sur- 
prising that the older and unsophistic natives should often 
feel aggrieved at the decision of the Court when they saw 
the younger men receiving perhaps a greater share of 
attention than their position or evidence warranted. 

The last of the great blocks of land which came before 
the Court was the Awarua block. This great block of 
land, of more than 200,000 acres in extent, had for its 
southern boundary the Otairi block, as we know it at 


present (it is just about the Mangaweka railway station). 
The Rangitikei river was the boundary until the Hautapu 
river was reached, when this river became the southern 
boundary until the Pourangaki stream was reached, the 
latter becoming the boundary, and then a straight line to 
the mountain to the trig station Te Hekenga-o-te-rakau. 
The eastern boundary ran along the top of the Ruahine 
Range to a point opposite Aorangi — such a marked feature 
in this district that no one can mistake it — from this hill 
it ran to the Rangitikei river, which became the boundary 
until it came to the junction of Makokomiko East, which, 
with its sister stream, Makokomiko West, running into 
the Moawhango, formed the northern boundary, following 
this river south till the Mangatauwhiri stream is reached, 
which, with the Pakaingarara (a tributary of the 
Hautapu), form the boundary until that river is reached, 
thence it runs across the river and up the Mamunui stream 
south of Mataroa in a southerly direction down the 
Mangaone for some distance, and continues south until 
the Otairi boundary is reached, and thence to the Rangi- 
tikei again. It will thus be seen what an enormous area 
it covered. Most of the block is now in the Rangitikei 
County, but portions are also in the Whanganui, Hawke's 
Bay, and Kiwitea Counties. Te Awarua, although the 
last to be purchased, became fairly well known for some 
time. The Main Trunk line had been surveyed, a line had 
been fallen through the bush, a bridle track made, whares 
erected by Government at various places for travellers. 
At Mangaweka there was one which was called "the three- 
log whare,^^ at Utiku there was another on the bank of 
the Hautapu, in which on an expedition in the middle 
eighties a pleasant party — of which I was one — passed 
a night. The track through the bush was indescribable — 
a series of holes filled with water and ridges between. The 
horses, which were not accustomed to such tracks, tried 
to step on the ridges but soon gave the attempt up, for 
they continually slipped into the mudholes, and thereafter 
simply plunged foot after foot into the holes made by 
countless horses passing along the track. This track, too, 


became after a time the means of communication between 
the inland Patea country and the West Coast, so that the 
whole block became familiar to a great many travellers. 
Everywhere they passed through magnificent forest, in 
some places composed of fine totara,which was to supply 
for years the whole of the depleted timber country to the 
south; near Taihape the track passed over a natural 
bridge with a stream running below it. Naturally where 
so many tribes joined there were many claimants for the 
land — the Broughtons, Renata Kawepo, Mrs. Donnelly 
of Hawke's Bay, the natives who lived at Moawhango, and 
a lady who at one time ran quite a number of sheep on 
the open country called Ani Puki, Utiku Potaka, repre- 
senting the Ngatihauitis, Ritimona of the Ngatiwhitis, and 
many others, most of whom made good their claims in a 
greater or less degree. The purchase was made by giving 
so much for a share, and was begun by Mr, Booth and 
continued by Messrs. Butler, Sheridan, and T. W. Lewis. 
The land was settled at different times, the Utiku country, 
between the Hautapu and Moawhango, at one time. At 
another the Pukeokahu block to the east of Moawhango 
to the Rangitikei, both of these fine limestone land. 
Another considerable area was sold or leased by the Crown 
west of Mangaweka, and another lot around Taihape, 
which soon became the principal township owing to its 
central position. Much of the land, however, remained in 
the hands of the native owners, who leased it to 
Europeans for settlement or milling purposes. Much of 
the bush has now been cut out and it is grassed and 
carrying stock. The Mokai Patea country is now also 
carrying stock, and in the hands of Mr. D. G. Riddiford 
is doing well. A considerable area of bush on the Rangi- 
tikei river has been felled and grassed, but the open 
country over which we have seen Mr. Colenso pass several 
times on his way to and fro to * ' inland Patea, ' ' is excellent 
summer country, but sometimes covered with snow for a 
short while in winter. An interesting spot named Papa- 
atarinuku, just above the junction of the Mangatera and 
the Rangitikei, is where a Maori repeatedly is said to have 


jumped across the Rangitikei. The land on the western 
side now belongs to Mr. H. Dalrymple, In Mr. T. W. 
Downes's Notes on the Ngati-apa Tribe he gives an account 
of this man. "It is also related that Whare-pu-rakau was 
a very athletic man, and near his place on the Upper 
Rangitikei he on several occasions saved himself from 
pursuit by clearing at a jump a narrow part of the river 
where the cliffs nearly meet. No other man would venture 
this hazardous feat, so he could defy his enemies and often 
did so. He lost his life by drowning in the Rangitikei 
River. As his party were crossing a dangerous ford 
his wife got into difficulties, and in going back to assist 
he himself lost his life, though his wife was saved. ' ' The 
cliffs here are said to be only about fifteen feet across, 
though the river is sixty or eighty feet below. This 
frequently occurs in the papa rock formation. Nearly all 
the tributaries of the Rangitikei run deep down between 
cliffs which causes a kind of echo, and makes the noise of 
the river below have a deep rumbling sound. The name 
Moa whango, for instance, as previously noted, is said by 
Colenso to mean ''deep-sounding Moa," so that perhaps 
we can get some idea of the notes of the moa by listening 
to it. The Maoris easily made a bridge across these streams 
by felling a suitable tree so as to give access to the other 

South of this, to the south of the Makopua stream, the 
land was cut up into larger areas, and is all settled, 
Messrs. BroMTi Bros, and Mr. Totman having very good 
runs. To the north of this stream there is some land 
which the Government is offering partially on timber 
royalties and partly for settlement. None of the millers 
have thought the terms good enough, and all this country 
will no doubt be disposed of. In another ten years it is 
safe to say that the whole of this wide and valuable block 
of land will all be in grass. Much of this land, although 
at a considerable altitude, is carrying 2i/^ to 3 sheep to the 
acre, dairy factories have sprung up in several places, 
and now with the hoots of the Express engine and the 
constant traffic to the stations the whole country has 


become civilised, and has lost much of its mysterious and 
romantic character. Fortunately a wise Land Board has 
left a considerable area on the Hautapu River, near 
Taihape as a scenery reserve, and this gives visitors some 
idea of what the country was like before the devastating 
axe spoilt its beauty for ever. A small block to the west, 
the Tekapua block, was purchased and settled by the 
Crown, To the north are the Ngaurukeku and Rake- 
tapauma, settled by the Crown. At Motukawa, as some 
of the land is not so good, the areas are larger in some 
instances. The rest of the area at the head waters of the 
Rangitikei, is in large blocks, used as sheep runs, viz., the 
Mangohane, Oruamatua, Owhauko, and Rangipo. These 
have not much interest to the settlement, as the land is 
only fit for large sheep runs, and small settlement would 
be impossible. 

During the time I have been gathering these 
"scrappy" notes I have had to consult many people, many 
books and old newspapers, and many records. The lapse 
of time since the early settlement has left only a few alive 
to give first-hand information. I have ever been sorry 
that when I had the opportunity of consulting others I 
was otherwise engaged, and it was only as time went on 
that this subject became more and more interesting, but 
many of the pioneers had gone. Their heroism and 
resource, however, was always the subject of my admira- 
tion, for although I did not arrive in the Dominion till 
1873 I saw enough of pioneering to make me realize the 
hardships and difficulties those who had paved the way 
must have undergone to bring the country to its then 
condition. I have felt, as I am sure many others must 
have done, that some record of the sacrifices these early 
settlers made for the benefit of posterity should be 
published. These I feel I have very imperfectly tran- 
scribed, but with its shortcomings I offer this contribution, 
such as it is, to the public, so that those of the younger 
generation into whose hands it may fall will have a less 
imperfect knowledge of what pioneering in New Zealand 
Was like. 



Extract from "Maori Deeds of Land Purchases in the North Island 
of New Zealand. 

THIS DEED written on this thirteenth day of December in 
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six 
(1866) is a full and final sale conveyance and surrender by us the 
chiefs and people of the tribes Ngatiapa, Ngatiraukawa, Bangitane, 
Wanganui, Ngatitoa, Muaupoko, and Ngatiawa, whose names are 
hereunto subscribed and Witnesseth that on behalf of ourselves 
relations and descendants we have by signing this deed parted 
with and for ever transferred unto Victoria Queen of England her 
heirs the Kings and Queens who may succeed her and her and their 
assigns forever in consideration of the sum of Twenty-five thousand 
pounds (25,000) Sterling agreed to be paid to us by Isaac Earl 
Featherston Land Purchase Commissioner on the due execution of 
the present Deed, All that piece of land situated between the 
Manawatu and Kangitikei rivers on the western side of the 
Province of Wellington, the boundaries whereof are set forth at 
the foot of this Deed, with its rivers, Trees, Minerals, Lakes, 
Streams, "Waters and all appertaining to the said land or beneath 
the surface of the said land and all our right title claim and 
interest therein. To hold to Queen Victoria her heirs and assigns 
as a lasting possession absolutely and for ever. And in testimony 
of our consent to all the conditions of this Deed we have hereunto 
subscribed our names and marks and in testimony of the consent 
of the Queen of England on her part to all the conditions of this 
Deed the name of Isaac Earl Featherston Land Purchase Com- 
missioner is hereunto subscribed. These are the boundaries of the 
land sold by us, namely, the Western boundary is the sea, the 
Northern boundary is the Eangitikei River to the mouth of the 
Waitapu Creek, and the Southern boundary commences at the 
mouth of the Kai-Iwi stream and follows the boundary of the land 
already sold to the Queen till it reaches Pakingahau on the 
Manawatu River. These are the other boundaries. The river 
Manawatu from Pakingahau to the mouth of the Oroua stream, 
then the Oroua stream as far as Te Umutoi which is the North- 
western boundary of the Upper Manawatu Block already sold to 
the Queen, thence the boundary runs in a direct line to the mouth 
of the Waitapu Creek, thence (as already described) along the 
course of the Rangitikei river to its mouth and along the sea coast 
to Kai-iwi the starting point. And we, the chiefs, and people 
before mentioned. Do by this writing agree that the said sum of 
twenty-five thousand pounds (25,000) shall be paid by the Land 
Purchase Commissioner to certain Chiefs to be nominated at a 
general meeting of the tribes concerned at Parewanui on the 



thirteenth day of December aforesaid who shall then divide and 
distribute the same among the sellers. 


Land Purchase Commissioner. 

Signed by the said Isaac Earl Featherston in the presence of — 
W. J. KENNARD, London, Gent. 

C. WENTWORTH DILKE, London, B.A., Barrister-at-Law. 
S. E. ILLINGWORTH, B.A., London. 
WALTER BULLER, Wanganui, Resident Magistrate. 

and 1,646 others. 
(These are too many to record. — J.G.W.) 


"We the undersigned being the chiefs nominated by the Ngatiapa 
and Rangitane Tribes at the Parewanui meeting to receive their 
share of the purchase money do hereby in the presence of the 
assembled Tribes and on their behalf, acknowledge to have received 
from His Honour I. E. Featherston Land Purchase Commissioner the 
sum of Fifteen thousand pounds (£15,000) for distribution among 
the aforesaid tribes and the secondary claimants related to them. 

HUNIA te HAKEKE X his mark. 


Dated at Parewanui this Fourteenth day of December, A.D. 1866. 

Witnesses to marks and to payment — 

C. WENTWORTH DILKE, Barrister, London. 

S. E. ILLINGWORTH, B.A., London. 

A. FOLLETT HALCOMBE, Settler, Rangitikei. 

WALTER BULLER, Wanganui, Resident Magistrate. 

MAILLARD NOAKE, Rangitikei, J.P. 

M. W. ANDERSON, Wellington, Contractor. 

We the undersigned being the chiefs nominated by the Ngati- 
raukawa and Ngatitoa tribes at the Parewanui meeting to receive 
their share of the purchase money do hereby in the presence of the 
assembled tribes and on their behalf acknowledge to have received 
from His Honour I. E. Featherston, Land Purchase Commissioner, 
the sum of Ten thousand pounds (£10,000) for distribution among 
the aforesaid tribes and the secondary claimants related to them. 


Dated at Parewanui this Fourteenth day of December, A.D. 1866. 


Extract from Provincial '* Gazette," page iS, 1872. 

WHEREAS by an act of the General Assembly of New Zealand 
entitled Wellington Special Settlements Act 1871 It is enacted that 
it shall be lawful for the Superintendent of the Province of 
Wellington with the advice of his Executive Council and by Pro- 
clamation in the Government "Gazette" of the said Province to 
set aside out of the waste lands within the Province of Wellington 
the Native title of which has been extinguished any block or blocks 
for the purpose of special settlement not exceeding in the whole 
1,000,000 acres on such terms as may be sanctioned by the Governor 
in Council anything in the existing regulations for the management 
or disposal of the waste lands in the Province to the contrary 
notwithstanding. It is also provided that no land shall be sold at 
a less price than land of a similar description is now sold at under 
the regulations aforesaid and that the proceeds thereof shall be 
subject to any sum already imposed thereon by an act of the 
General Assembly And whereas by an order in Council dated the 
nineteenth day of February 1872 a block of land at Sandon in the 
Manawatu district in the said Province is sanctioned as a special 
settlement under the said act for the members of an association 
known as the Hutt Small Farm Association and upon the terms and 
conditions set forth in the schedule thereto Now therefore I 
William Fitzherbert Superintendent of the Province of Wellington 
with the advice and consent of the Executive Council thereof and 
in exercise of the power and authority for the purpose in me 
invested do hereby proclaim and declare that the block of land 
situated in the township of Sandon in the Manawatu district in 
the Province of Wellington containing 5008 acres 2 roods 32 perches 
more or less and bounded as described in the schedule hereto shall 
be reserved and set apart as a special settlement for the members 
of the Hutt Small Farm Association upon the terms and conditions 
set forth and specified in the before mentioned order in Council and 
further declare that the Provincial Government shall have the 
right to select out of the rural lands included within the said block 
ten acres for gravel reserve such ten acres to be selected within 
twelve months from the date of this proclamation and in the event 
of the land so selected forming part of a purchased section or 
sections a refund of the purchase money pro rata shall be made to 
the owner or owners thereof but should the land so selected as 
aforesaid be only partly paid for a reduction of the balance of the 
purchase shall be made pro rata in favour of the purchaser In all 
cases the gravel reserve shall be fenced at the expense of the 
Provincial Government Also that the Provincial Government shall 
have the right to carry through any and all of the rural sections 
within the said block all water that may be collected in the side 
drains of the two principal public Roads to its natural outlet 
without any compensation being payable to the owner of the land 
which such outlets may be taken The Provincial Engineer to be 
the judge as to what constitutes a natural outlet. 


Given under my hand and seal of the Province of Wellington 
at Wellington, 4th March, 1872. 



By His Honor's command, 

(Signed) HENRY BUNNY, 

Provincial Secretary. 


All that piece of land in the township of Sandon in the Manawatu 
district being sections No. 1 to 44 and also all that piece of land 
known as the township of Sandon bounded towards the north by 
section 7 to 8 towards the east by the continuation of the eastern 
boundary of section 7 towards the south by sections 15 and towards 
the West by sections 7 and 15. 


Signatures to the Rangitikbi-Turakina Sale. 

Ani Patena Paenga x her 

Wirihana Ngapaxhis mark 
Kaiatu x his mark 
Ritomona Mahuri x his 

Utiku Mahuri x his mark 
Utiku Una x his mark 
Watikini Wahapu x his 

Tarita Wakairi x her mark 
Mere Pukaihua x her mark 
Paro X her mark 
Reweti Matiti x his mark 
Rawinia Taiaha x her mark 
Ripeka Ngaia x her mark 
Tamati Taniki x his mark 
Taniora Karatau x his 

Hopa te Ao Wahie x his 

Ropiha te Ao Putere x his 

Kewetone Papaka x his 

Kepa Ronga x his mark 
Hoana Tikuku x his mark 
Reupena Peni 
Kuini Miri x her mark 
Hipora Kaiatu x her mark 
Wikitoria Tamona x her 

Ko te Ani x her mark 
Irarera te Ora x her mark 
Unaiki Puruha x her mark 
Rawinia Mangumangu x 

her mark 
Hariata Hainewenewe x 

her mark 
Riha te Mihi x her mark 
Rawinia Taupo x her mark 
Rakapa te Ratapu x her 


Kereopa Kirihuka x his 

Hapeta Makureia x his 

Heta Tionga x his mark 
Erina Waikata x her mark 
Metiria Ruahina x her 

Raimapaha te Karipi x hig 

Waikopu X her mark 
Pipi Mapihi x her mark 
Ko Iwi te Ra x her mark 
Rahera Irea x her mark 
Irihapeti Nana x her mark 
Mata te Mohi x her mark 
Miriama Waipaipai x her 

Heroriaha Awanui x her 

Poreke x her mark 
Harota te Rao x her mark 
Mata Wakareha x her 

Rora Awea x her mark 
Riria Tarawe x her mark 
Ko Ruta 
Wirihana Raupo x his 

Ramari Apipiro x her 

Heremaia Ngapape x his 

Manahi te Ao x his mark 
Te Ratana Ngahina x his 

Hone Ropiha te Moko x 

his mark 
Mihi Tirina Tungia x her 

Ko te Ope x her mark 



Mata Haua x her mark 
Harata te Waiuri x her 

Tauwi X her mark 
Para x her mark 
Hera Pohokura x her 

Kohatu X her mark 
Hariata Tikanga x her 

Pirihira Watumaka x her 

Rahiri Tuma x her mark 
Te Onekore x her mark 
Baimapa te Noti x her 

Mou X her mark 
Manganui x her mark 
Rahiri Pikinga x her mark 
Pipirangi x her mark 
Kuao x her mark 
Ko te Ao X her mark 
Upoko Tapu X her mark 
Tawana x his mark 
Huana Kokonu x her mark 
Raimare te Noti x her 

Wirihana Mokara x his 

Miriama Koherangi x her 

Haenga x her mark 
Heramuku x her mark 
Roka Kuao x her mark 
Mata Pakinga x her mark 
Hana te Noho x her mark 
Hurihanga x her mark 
Kataraina te Anganga x 

her mark 
Ripeka te Ipuwakatara x 

her mark 
Hohipeta Ereora x her 

Mata te Ahi x her mark 

Nikorima Huri x his mark 
Kawana Hunia Hakeke x 

his mark 
Kawana te Iki x his mark 
Awira te Ore x his mark 
Raniera Toka x his mark 
Motui Toariki x his mark 
Tamihana Te Kotama x 

his mark 
Pairama Paua x his mark 
Wiremu Tamiru x his 

Tahana Tauanake x his 

Herewini Unukawa x his 

Kewekewe x his mark 
Hamiora te Wunu x his 

Hone Hira x his mark 
Ahira x his mark 
Hohua Arorangi x his 

Te Warena Hiriwarawara 

X his mark 
Hone te Awho x his mark 
Matini Pakawai x his 

Hori te Rangihau x his 

Ngamana Ko x his mark 
Rawiri te Maua x his mark 
Hinia Tauri x his mark 
Aperahama Mangumangu 
Henare Tahau x his mark 
Pirika Maki x his mark 
Aporo Tukirunga x his 

Rapuna Mimi x his mark 
Taituha te Waka x his 

Nahona Tutehonuku x his 




Te Waka Timanga x his 

Te Watarauhi x his mark 
Eramiha te Kopiropiro x 

his mark 
Nikorima Irihia x his 

Bupuha te Orau x his 

Rawinia te Mitioti x her 

Mohi Mahi x his mark 
Kawana Hunia te Hakeke 

X his mark 
Rihimona Tauwea 
Hura te Rua x his mark 
Ko to Makomako x his 

Hori te Mohi x his mark 
Ko Ihaka Pakeha x his 

Aropeta Iria x his mark 
Kingi Hori te Hanea x his 

Tahana Pati x his mark 
Ko te Ngawa x his mark 
Ko te Ahum x his mark 
Tamihana to Kau x his 

Ko Nga Papa x his mark 
Aperahama Poroma x his 

Rihari Karoro x his mark 
Ko te Rerepoti x his mark 
Ko Pura x his mark 
Ko Wiremu Mokomoko x 

Matini te Matuku x his 

Haora te Nge x his mark 
Hori Kanini x his mark 
Waiteri Marumaru x his 

Harawira TamaiterangSr 

nguku X his mark 

Raihania Kawika x his 

Ko te Kiripango x his 

Hemi te Kiore x his mark 
Hohepa Kahunga x his 

Peneamini Kiao x his 

Matiaha Peko x his mark 
Meihana Tahuri x his 

Parakaia Witiki x his 

Niu Piripi Turaki x his 

Hakaraia te Rangipouri x 

his mark 
Taituha Pikiata x his 

Kanake x his mark 
Mitai Takiri x his mark 
Haehana Takiri x his 

Ko Tuia te Rangikekupa 
Reihana Moetahi x his 

Weteraka te Wiurangi x 

his mark 
Matenga Peketau x his 

Timoti Tamana x his mark 
Paora te Awa Mate x his 

Tahu Raiti x his mark 

Hemara te Rangita 

Peta te Uru x his mark 
Pehira Toanga 
Te Waka Kawariki x his 

Ihakara piri Moanga x his 




Hopa te Nge x his mark 

Paihana Tahere 

Hoani te Umkaika x his 

Hare Tipeni Takota x his 

Tamati Wiremu Kawini x 

his mark 
Reweti Poui x his mark 

Hapurona Tohikura x his 

Rihiona te Rangiamaia 
Anaru te Rangi x his 

Epiha Kume x his mark 
Horikawe x his mark 
Wiremu Matenga x his 


Alfred Wyatt, Major 65th Regt. N.Z. 
George Magler, Lt. 65th Regt. 
Smith Sunderland, D.A.S.G. 
H.F. Turner, Lieut. 65th Regt. 
W. Ronaldson. 
M. Campbell, J.P. 

Robert Park, Surveyor, acting for the New Zealand 

Printed bv Whiteombe db Tamht JAimxted, Chritichwrih. W1846 

Los Angeles 

This book is D .on the last date stamped below. 

Form L9-Series 4939 




University Research Library 

r •-